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SAG-AFTRA Members Give Near-Unanimous Approval to New TV Animation Contract

2023 was a labor-heavy year for the entertainment industry thanks to the Hollywood strikes. While actors, writers, and directors now have new deals, other parts of the industry are still working to ensure better conditions and AI safeguards.

Late Friday night, it was revealed SAG-AFTRA members have fully ratified a new three-year contract for TV animation. It appears to have been a pretty high voter turnout, with 95.52% of those who voted in favor of the conditions. According to SAG, parts of this contract were boosted by the TV/Theatrical contract struck last year, such as AI protections. It’ll go into effect starting July 1 and run through June 30, 2026.

Key AI points include performers having to give their consent when prompting a genAI system with a specific voice actor’s name. Producers will also have to notify and negotiate with SAG-AFTRA if a synthetic voice is used instead of a voice actor’s, and the previous contract’s “major facial feature” requirement has now been removed. If a performer’s voice has been digitally altered into a foreign language and that performance is used, the actor will be eligible for “all applicable residuals.”

Outside of AI, minimum wage will increase by 7% (retroactively applied to July 1, 2023), followed by 4% in year two and 3.5% in year three. Changes to SVOD high-budget residuals (both domestic and foreign) have been fully implemented after they were previously secured in SAG-AFTRA’s TV/theatrical agreement last year, and both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth have been recognized as contractual holidays. Finally, the union can request up to two meetings per year with the AMPTP and studios to discuss paying performers on time.

“The foundation of this agreement was based on the feedback we got from members who work these contracts, and that remained the negotiating committee’s focus throughout bargaining. We are proud to have delivered an agreement that offers big wins in those areas,” said TV Animation negotiating co-chairs Bob Bergen and David Jolliffe. “This is the first SAG-AFTRA animation voiceover contract with protections against the misuse of artificial intelligence.”

Added chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, “This contract represents a meaningful step forward in expanding our A.I. protections. The contract provides important new terms in the areas of foreign residuals, high-budget SVOD productions, late payments and much more. I am gratified we were able to achieve these significant gains without the need for a work stoppage.”

The labor negotiations in entertainment aren’t done yet. SAG-AFTRA is still in talks with video game studios over an agreement for video game voice actors, and organzations like local IATSE groups and the Animation Guild are expected (or currently are) having talks with the AMPTP and studios in the near future.

You can read the full four-page breakdown of SAG-AFTRA’s new contract here.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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