Actors, local businesses relieved that Hollywood is getting back to work

Friday, November 10, 2023
Local businesses relieved by end of SAG-AFTRA strike
It's back to work now for Hollywood - and all the small businesses that count on the industry - as the 118-day actors strike is now ove

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's back to work now for Hollywood - and all the small businesses that count on the industry - as the 118-day actors strike is now over.

The tentative deal reached Wednesday between SAG-AFTRA negotiators and the studios still has to be approved by the union's board and the full membership. But in the history of the union, the membership has never failed to ratify a contract endorsed by the negotiators.

The union representing some 160,000 actors is preparing to get back to work under an agreement termed historic, providing members with the largest increase in minimum wages in the last 40 years.

"When we look back on this deal 5 or 10 years from now, we're going to say that the real sacrifice made (not just) by our members, but by so many workers in the industry will have been worth it," said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA.

Although full details of the deal have not been released, SAG-AFTRA shared what they called a few key points, including: More than $1 billion in new wages and benefit plan funding; a bonus for participation in streaming; and new "guardrails" on the use of AI.

"This is the biggest contract in our industry ever and we crossed the B word. So it's a billion-plus dollar contract and there are inroads that have been carved everywhere that have never existed in any contract before," said SAG-AFTRa president Fran Drescher.

SoCal businesses celebrate end of strike

From costume shops to truck rentals, small businesses that work with the entertainment industry are relieved that the SAG-AFTRA strike is over.

Elected officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, have praised the two sides for reaching a deal, which will help an economy that was substantially impacted by the work stoppage.

Businesses that are not in the entertainment industry but count its workers among their key customers are relieved.

Shon Leblanc, for example, is co-owner of Valentinos costume shop in North Hollywood. The business had just moved into a new space and had plans to put in new structures and offices - but with no income during the strike, had to put those plans all on hold.

"Now we know we can have more business, so we're very excited about that," Leblanc said. "And we're excited that our brothers and sisters in the acting group got stuff that they deserved."

Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony notes that his city is particularly dependent on economic activity generated by the studios and their workers.

"The restaurants, the nail salons, the dry cleaning," Anthony said.

"I have reports of some small businesses that had to let 60% of their workforce go. It was a big hit."