SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify TV Animation Contracts

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Impact of Hollywood Strikes on Entertainment Industry

2023 proved to be a year laden with labor disputes within the entertainment industry, predominantly due to the Hollywood strikes. While notable figures like actors, writers, and directors managed to secure new agreements, other sectors of the industry are still striving to establish improved working conditions and implement artificial intelligence (AI) safeguards.

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During the late hours of Friday, an announcement was made confirming the full ratification of a fresh three-year contract for TV animation by the members of SAG-AFTRA. The voter turnout was notably high, with an impressive 95.52% of the participants voting in favor of the stipulated conditions. According to SAG, certain elements of this contract have been influenced by the previously agreed TV/Theatrical contract from the prior year, particularly in terms of AI protections. This contract is set to take effect from July 1, running through June 30, 2026.

Key AI Provisions

A significant aspect of the agreement entails performers being required to provide their explicit consent when engaging with a genAI system utilizing a particular voice actor’s name. Furthermore, producers must inform and engage in negotiations with SAG-AFTRA should a synthetic voice be utilized over a human voice actor, with the removal of the former contract’s “major facial feature” mandate. Should a performer’s voice be digitally transformed into a foreign language and utilized, the actor becomes eligible for “all applicable residuals.”

Other Noteworthy Contract Updates

Beyond AI-related stipulations, the minimum wage is set to witness a 7% increment, retroactively implemented from July 1, 2023, along with subsequent rises of 4% in the second year and 3.5% in the third year. Furthermore, modifications to SVOD high-budget residuals, encompassing both domestic and foreign productions, have been completely enforced following their prior inclusion in SAG-AFTRA’s TV/theatrical arrangement from the previous year. Additionally, both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth have been designated as official contractual holidays. Lastly, the union has the prerogative to request up to two annual meetings with the AMPTP and studios to deliberate on ensuring prompt performer payments.

Union Leaders’ Perspectives

Describing the negotiation process, Bob Bergen and David Jolliffe, the co-chairs for TV Animation bargaining, emphasized the fundamental role of member feedback, which remained pivotal throughout the negotiation phase. They expressed pride in the resultant agreement, touting significant victories in essential areas. Chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland hailed the contract as a crucial leap forward in expanding AI protections and commended the incorporation of novel terms concerning foreign residuals, high-budget SVOD productions, and punctual payments, achieved without necessitating any work cessation.

Labor discussions within the entertainment realm are far from over as SAG-AFTRA continues its deliberations with video game studios concerning an agreement for video game voice actors. Concurrently, local IATSE groups and the Animation Guild are either poised to commence or currently engaged in discussions with the AMPTP and studios in the foreseeable future.

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Chris Jones

Hey there! 👋 I'm Chris, 34 yo from Toronto (CA), I'm a journalist with a PhD in journalism and mass communication. For 5 years, I worked for some local publications as an envoy and reporter. Today, I work as 'content publisher' for InformOverload. 📰🌐 Passionate about global news, I cover a wide range of topics including technology, business, healthcare, sports, finance, and more. If you want to know more or interact with me, visit my social channels, or send me a message.
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