And now… they celebrate!
Spirits were high Wednesday evening as SAG-AFTRA members gathered at All Season Brewing in Los Angeles to toast the union reaching a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with studios and streamers and the end of the 118-day actors strike.
Party organizers said they chose the brewery due to its proximity to SAG-AFTRA headquarters, where just a few hours earlier the union’s negotiating committee approved the agreement in a unanimous vote.
Actors erupted in cheers when negotiating committee members, including Frances Fisher, Shari Belafonte and Avis Boone, arrived and joined the celebration after Wednesday’s vote and a marathon 10-hour session Tuesday.
Fisher, Belafonte and Boone told The Hollywood Reporter they’re “relieved” and “excited” following the end of the strike, and they shed some light on the tentative deal.
“Not just one thing, it’s the whole package,” Fisher told THR regarding what she’s most proud of the negotiating committee achieving in the deal. “It’s the whole thing combined, just like our membership.There are so many different categories that we wanted to get something for everybody. And we did.”
“I think there are things that were happening in the past that got overlooked for so many years,” added Belafonte. “Not because there wasn’t a lot of strength behind it. It just was a different membership that came up to the forefront and certainly a different leader. [SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher] was unstoppable and she rallied the troops and while there had been some division in the past that just faded away, everybody came to the plate.”
The negotiating committee members also praised the SAG-AFTRA members who showed their support for the strike on the picket lines over the past 118 days.
“They were the backbone of this whole thing,” said Belafonte. “Even though we as members were in [negotiations], obviously getting the best deal that we could, it was hearing their voices, as you can hear tonight, that kept us strong, too.”
“And our strike captains in LA and our strike captains in New York,” added Boone. “We could not have done this without the solidarity, the support and the love that we felt from the picket lines.”
Numerous strike captains were in attendance at the celebration, and they expressed their mutual gratitude for the negotiating committee, as well as their fellow actors.
“It’s surreal,” said Chelsea Schwartz, a strike captain at Amazon, about the work stoppage finally coming to an end. “If people are offered to go back to work tomorrow, we could be back to work tomorrow and it’s crazy to think about that. I’m very happy. I’m excited to be celebrating with everybody tonight. I’m really proud of my negotiating committee.”
“We were out on those lines, every single day,” said Brendan Bradley, a strike captain at Paramount. “This is a new chapter for union literacy and advocacy, and I think we’re going to bring that into the next chapter of Hollywood.”
AI, streaming residuals and base salary increases are among the deal points that SAG-AFTRA members in attendance at All Season Brewing on Wednesday evening say they’re most curious about seeing in the tentative agreement. The strike will end at 12:01am Thursday and the deal will go to the union’s national board for approval Friday.