Good things are happening! Actors reach a tentative deal with Hollywood studios, voters say yes to a mansion tax and rent control, Portland teachers strike for the first time in city history, Uber and Lyft pay up for years of wage theft, and New York City adopts a bill of rights for immigrant workers.

The Stars Win A Deal

After 118 days on strike over meager pay and work protections in the face of a rapidly developing entertainment industry, tens of thousands of actors represented by the SAG-AFTRA union have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with Hollywood studios. The agreement, which the union’s bargaining committee unanimously approved on Wednesday,  will now have to be ratified by members.

The deal includes new provisions for pensions and health care, minimum compensation floors, protections around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) t, and a “streaming participation bonus” that provides residuals for actors on digital productions. The new contract’s concessions are valued at over $1 billion, according to SAG-AFTRA. 

Union president Fran Drescher called the development a “historic deal” worth “3X the last contract.”

Concerns about studios using AI to generate actor likenesses without their consent had been a central focus of the talks leading up to the agreement announcement. The studios have since characterized the deal’s wage increases, which average about eight percent for most actors, as the largest bump in 40 years.

The SAG-AFTRA strike overlapped significantly with a 148-day screenwriters strike over wage and other demands. It was the first time in decades that Hollywood writers and actors engaged in concurrent work stoppages, signaling just how dire working conditions have become for many in the entertainment industry. In the midst of the actors’ strike, additional workers at several Marvel and Walt Disney departments voted to unionize. Next up? Negotiations between the studios and Hollywood crews, since those contracts expire next summer.