SAG-AFTRA’s Board Overwhelmingly Approves New Netflix Contract, Which Fran Drescher Calls “A Darn Good Deal” – Updated

SAG-AFTRA’s national board has voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year contract with Netflix. The contract now goes to the guild’s membership for ratification.

“We got a darn good deal,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who chaired the guild’s negotiating committee. “We advanced significant improvements to exclusivity terms, allowing actors with short pickups to have more freedom to work other jobs and ensuring shorter hold periods between pickups.”

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According to the guild, the agreement creates a new “conflict-free window” of at least three months during each season in which performers can accept a permitted appearance on another show or network without first confirming availability and potential scheduling with Netflix. The guild also says the new pact contains “significant changes benefiting background performers, stunt coordinators and dubbing performers, and significantly expands SAG-AFTRA’s coverage of Spanish-language dubbing.”

Netflix and SAG-AFTRA also agreed that the company will join the multi-employer bargaining unit represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, and that future agreements with Netflix will be conducted concurrently with AMPTP negotiations. “Certain issues are covered by industry wide agreements with the AMPTP and will be addressed in upcoming negotiations, including wage rate (scale) increases and the streaming residuals structure, among others,” the guild said.

“Testimony from our members offered compelling and convincing arguments in favor of unlocking the shackles the streaming platform had on actors,” Drescher said in a statement. “Everyone was represented and we won unprecedented favorable advancements. It took a long time, a great deal of pushing past their comfort zone and now that it’s all said and done, the committee and staff have a deal they feel most satisfied with. Journeymen actors, who are often squeezed in the middle, benefit the most under these new terms, and we also made great strides for background performers.

“As the landscape of the industry has changed, streaming has become one of the most important areas of focus,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director and chief negotiator. “Streaming is both the present and the future of entertainment, and this agreement reflects that reality. Our team fought hard for gains across the board, and members from background performers to series regulars will feel that benefit. I am particularly proud of our expansion of Spanish-language dubbing coverage, which results in equal pay for equal work regardless of the language used. It’s another huge step forward in our fight for equity, which is also symbolized by the addition of a holiday acknowledging Juneteenth.”

He added: “I would like to express my appreciation to President Drescher for her service as Negotiating Committee Chair, and to all the members of the Negotiating Committee for their dedicated work on this negotiation. I would also like to acknowledge Lead Negotiator Ray Rodriguez for his extraordinary efforts, together with our brilliant negotiating staff.”

The contract also establishes a new Albuquerque Background Actor Zone within a 30-mile radius around Albuquerque City Hall. This represents the first new background zone in 24 years.

And, for the first time under any agreement, the guild said, “stunt coordinators will be paid a fixed residual for the continued exhibition on Netflix of a high-budget streaming program produced under the Netflix Agreement.”

The Netflix Dubbing Agreement has also been expanded to include dubbing into Spanish. The terms for Spanish-language dubbing will match the terms that apply to English dubbing.

Bargaining for the new contract began June 27 and continued intermittently through Aug. 2. The Netflix agreement applies to scripted, dramatic episodic and feature-length productions made by Netflix Studios, LLC.

SAG-AFTRA signed its first-ever overall deal directly with Netflix three years ago. Before that, the streaming giant dealt with the guild on a production-by-production basis. Guild officials said at the time that with few exceptions, the contract’s terms followed the guild’s Codified Basic Agreement and Television Agreements.

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