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SAG-AFTRA Members to Vote on New TV Animation Agreements

3-year contracts, which benefited from gains made during last year’s 118-day strike, have been approved by the executive committee and now await member ratification.  

LOS ANGELES -- The SAG-AFTRA 2023 Television Animation Agreements have been approved by the SAG-AFTRA Executive Committee, and the agreements will now be sent to members for ratification. The three-year contracts benefited from gains made to the TV/Theatrical Contract after the 118-day strike, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence protections.

“We were able to ride the wave of our strike victory to secure a better deal for members. That momentum paid off in terms of substantial wage increases, more than $3 million in back pay, two new holidays and the first SAG-AFTRA animation voiceover contract with artificial intelligence protections and gains,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. 

“Thank you to Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs Bob Bergen and David Jolliffe, who secured a top-tier deal for members. Notably, I appreciate that we have enshrined in the contract what all members know: that a voice actor must be human. This contract builds on what we were able to achieve in live action to offer additional protections and gains in artificial intelligence that meet the specific needs of our dynamic voiceover community. Now, more than ever, doing voiceover work without a union contract is playing with fire,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.

We built on the gains of the TV/Theatrical agreement to secure improved protections for Animation actors, without a strike. Among the highlights of the contract are: 

  • Specific language acknowledging that the term “voice actors” includes only humans and that acknowledges the importance of human voice acting.
  • Retroactivity with salary increases: A pattern-busting 7% wage increase applies retroactively to July 1, 2023. That’s worth over $3 million dollars in instant gains for the members.
  • Substantial artificial intelligence protections and gains for voice actors: 
    • Removed the requirement that a digital replica must exclusively sound like the recognizable natural voice of an actor in order to be protected. 
      • “Employment-based digital replicas,” need only be recognized and identifiable via contracts and other regular business documents, confirming that it was in fact the performer's voice used to make the replica.  
      • “Independently created digital replicas” need only sound like the “character voice” from which the replica was created. 
      • Confirmation that if the voice actor’s performance is digitally altered into a foreign language, the voice actor shall be eligible for residuals based on the distribution of the foreign language version.
    • When prompting a generative artificial intelligence system with a performer name or names, consent of those performers is required. We have removed the requirement, which exists in live action, that a “major facial feature” be included in the prompt with no substitute for that criterion.
    • We have established regular, mandatory artificial intelligence meetings with producers, which will include discussion of methods and systems to track the use of digital replicas. 
  • We were able to keep the High Budget SVOD threshold for Animated projects at its lower-than-live-action level, and we made the same significant improvements to the formula that were achieved in live action.
  • Further reducing the producer’s ability to “freely bargain” with voice actors for compensation below union minimums on certain made-for-new-media animated programs. 
  • Actors who perform improvised lines in the nature of “omnies” will be treated as principal performers with applicable residuals, meaning all new TV/basic cable animation productions moving forward are prohibited from using this omni contract for looping.
  • Achieves Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Juneteenth as contractual holidays with retroactive holiday pay for anyone who worked on the recent MLK Day.
  • Upon request, the producer must provide sheet music, if it is available, for a voice actor required to sing.
  • We are implementing a system to improve a series of outstanding compliance issues including late payment, recoupment of overpaid residuals, providing voice actors with executed copies of their contracts, and informing voice actors and their representatives at the time of an offer whether the animated program qualifies for “high budget” terms, including application of scale.

The Executive Committee, on behalf of the SAG-AFTRA National Board, is recommending a “yes” vote.

Members will now be asked to ratify the contracts. Postcards were mailed today to all eligible affected members. The postcards contain instructions on how to vote online or, for members who do not wish to vote online, instructions on how to request a paper ballot.  

Prior to the voting deadline of 5 p.m. PDT, Friday, March 22, 2024, two online informational meetings will take place on March 7 to familiarize members with the contract provisions and answer questions. Visit for details.

SAG-AFTRA 2020 Television Animation Agreements expired last year, but were extended due to the TV/Theatrical/Streaming Strike, with negotiations scheduled for February. The agreements cover animated programs produced for television, including network television, basic cable and streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.


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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.