By Andrew Dalton - The Associated Press
LONDON (Reuters) - Hollywood actors have voted to ratify the deal with the studios that ended their strike after nearly four months, their leaders announced Tuesday.
The approval of the three-year contract by members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) was not a certainty, as some prominent members voiced their disagreement with the agreement negotiated by union leaders.
SAG-AFTRA member Bruce D. Mitchell participates in the strike on Nov. 8, 2023, in Los Angeles.Associated Press
The 78 percent vote in favor in the vote that began Nov. 13 and ended Tuesday is a far cry from the near-unanimous approval and widespread enthusiasm that Writers Guild members gave to the deal that ended their strike in September.
"This contract is a huge win for working artists and ushers in a new era for the industry," the union said in a message on social media site X announcing the results late Tuesday.
Just over 38% of members voted, according to SAG-AFTRA.
"There were more yes votes than I expected and so happy to see that despite the strong opposing voices on social media, it shows that the union membership is still strong and united," actor Ethan Embry posted on the social network X. "Back to work," he said.
A rejection of the agreement would have meant a return to the negotiating table and, with it, the possibility that the actors would return to strike if the leaders called for it.
Those leaders had freed the actors to return to work, declaring the strike over as soon as the interim agreement was reached on Nov. 8 with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and production companies in union negotiations. Two days later, the guild board approved it with 86% of the vote.
Control over the use of artificial intelligence was the most contentious issue in the long and methodical negotiations.
Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, told The Associated Press shortly after an understanding was reached that making sure AI actors' reproductions could only be used with their informed consent and compensation was a "flashpoint" in the talks.