“[I feel] great relief and happiness that we stood firm, we held our ground and we got a historic and seminal contract at a point in history where it was necessary,” Drescher, 66, told CNN on Thursday, November 9. “I’m grateful that [the union members] hung in. I’m appreciative that they showed the support that they did for our negotiating committee. All of the staff, everybody worked so hard. … We can really celebrate with this contract.”
Drescher went on to say that she’s “already thinking” about items she wants to include in the union’s next contract.
“But we broke so much ground,” she continued. “There is so much language in this contract that covers so much new ground that has never been in any other contract before, and that was the point of this negotiation,” she explained, noting that the contract is worth more than $1 billion. “That too is historic. And we passed without objection.”
While the contract still needs to be ratified by union members, Drescher isn’t worried about getting the votes.
“I feel like it’s such a good contract, and our lowest-paid members who [work] in background, they got an unbelievable deal, and our expert from that community said they’ve never felt so represented,” she gushed.
Drescher also feels like it’s going to be “business as usual and zero problem” as actors go back to work on studio lots. “You can never take these things personally,” she added. “The demands were made and met.”
On Wednesday, November 8, SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The agreement includes the first-ever protections for actors against the use of artificial intelligence and a historic pay increase.
The guild approved the agreement in a unanimous vote and revealed that the strike will officially end on Thursday, November 9. The new contract will now go to SAG-AFTRA’s national board for approval.
“We are thrilled and proud to tell you that today your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the AMPTP,” SAG-AFTRA’s social media statement read on Wednesday. “As of 12:01 a.m. on November 9, our strike is officially suspended and all picket locations are closed. We will be in touch in the coming days with information about celebration gatherings around the country.”