Earlier this week, the SAG-AFTRA strikes came to an end as the union and the studios reached a historic agreement, concluding the 118-day strike in a unanimous decision.
Both parties have emerged with a deal that addresses key concerns, signaling a transformative moment in the landscape of the entertainment industry.
After weeks of picket lines and halted productions, the SAG-AFTRA strikes ended with an unprecedented accord that promises sweeping changes for the union. The union must vote unanimously to approve it.
The agreement, achieved through marathon negotiations, tackles issues ranging from fair compensation for streaming services to enhanced workplace safety measures, along with arguably the most fought-over issue, artificial intelligence.
The strike left thousands of actors and others from the industry without work for months, not to mention the effect it had on non-union members. Some left the industry altogether, unable to face the economic challenges it presented, coupled with the rising costs due to an inflation-riddled economy.
Others took odd jobs, gig work, and anything they could to generate income while the two sides discussed their terms.
One of those actors is Anastasia Taneie, a working actor and model from Highland Park. Her career began when she was 18 years old, following in her mother’s footsteps. She’s been a part of the guild.
At 7 years old, she moved to Pasadena with her mother, attending Pasadena High School and eventually, Pasadena City College, where she studied teaching. It was there when she shifted to becoming an actor and model full-time, landing her background roles through Central Casting in Burbank.
Since then, most of her roles have been in independent films, recently filming before the strike began. Her husband is a stunt actor and martial artist and is also a member of SAG-AFTRA. The two celebrated the news in their kitchen together, celebrating the end to a 118-day struggle for thousands of actors over a drink.
Taneie, with her two young daughters next to her, admitted she couldn’t believe it when she saw the news.
“When we heard it ended, we were like, ‘Oh my God, really?’” she said. “We were jumping for joy…are we getting what we wanted? I had to double-check. It was just this shock factor.”
Taneie said she was relieved to see the news. Her mother is a commercial actor and was out of work for several months, reluctant to trust the contracts. Her two daughters have their own show and are also young actors with their own talent agents.
Most of all, it was the non-union members who were at the receiving end of the strike. No protections. No laws in place. They’ve had to stand pat and wait until this painful intermission was over, a sacrifice Taneie certainly understands.
What The Future Holds
Since Wednesday’s announcement, there have been several green-lighting projects to get back to work. Major studios like Disney, Warner Bros., and others resumed work.
For actors like Taneie, she’s excited to see the work stoppage to be over and is excited to see the work that comes from it.
“I think it’s going to be great,” she said. “There were some things that were left out like residuals for online streaming…what we were looking at is how AI is going to affect our careers. We think this is a win for us. I’m happy with the outcome.”
A Joyful Apprehension
Despite the final chapter in the record-breaking strike now being closed, Taneie expressed her hesitancy, reminiscing that this feels very similar to the SAG-AFTRA merger in 2021, creating one of the largest entertainment industry unions in the world.
“When I looked over it,” she said. “I just feel like it’s too good to be true. There’s a lot of things we still don’t know…I’m kind of scared that it’s going to fall back. I hope it does go through. After everything we’ve been through. This affected everybody.”
While she’s excited to go back to work, Taneie shared her reluctance to invest in the joy, leaving no room for disappointment, as she’s a mother to two young girls looking to provide what she needs for them to succeed. Soon, she will be headed to Japan with her two daughters and her husband, celebrating one of the more momentous labor decisions in recent history, as this arduous, and taxing chapter, is now behind her.
“It’s going to push me to act more,” she said. “To create more…it’s going to challenge me as a mother. I think that’s a good thing. It’s going to get me more out of my shell if it does come through. I don’t know. We will see. I still have my doubts.”
SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee unanimously voted to approve the deal earlier this week, potentially paving the way for a smoother ratification process by the union’s national board.
Later this afternoon, SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors will vote to approve the deal.