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Saturday Night Live fans may breathe a sigh of relief.
An impasse on contract negotiations that led to postproduction workers threatening a strike has been resolved, at least for now, as labor and NBCUniversal management have reached a tentative deal. The workers, who had been negotiating their first contract as a union allied with the Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG), had previously set a deadline of April 1. If a deal wasn’t reached by that date, workers vowed to strike the live NBC comedy series.
The deal still needs to be ratified by the bargaining unit, which is comprised of 12-20 postproduction workers (the number working on the show fluctuates by episode) responsible for the show’s pretaped segments, before it can go into effect. A strike is still potentially on the table until members ratify the contract, though the MPEG negotiating team has recommended ratification to members. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to NBC for comment.
According to the union, the tentative deal would grow members’ wages by up to 60 percent over the course of the three-year contract and offer “immediate” pay increases. The contract would offer bonuses if workers ratify the pact, continue their healthcare benefits and offer employees who work long hours with short times between when they end work and have to start work again paid meals, hotel rooms and transportation.
“We are thrilled to have reached this tentative deal,” MPEG national executive director Cathy Repola said in a statement. “Thanks to the tremendous resolve of the crew, we reached a deal that represents real achievement in each of the areas our members identified as key, including dramatic improvements in wages. We’ll defer detailed public discussion of the terms until after our negotiators have had a chance to meet with the full crew to review the deal and hold a ratification vote.”
Both NBC and MPEG have been hashing out a deal for these workers since their union was first voluntarily recognized by management in October 2022. The pace of talks for a first contract, perceived to be slow within the union, irked the bargaining unit, which in January authorized a strike in an effort to accelerate the discussions. “The show works at such a fast pace, we know the company knows how to do things quickly and effectively,” a member of the bargaining unit told THR at the time. After the union took the action, NBC and MPEG had multiple other bargaining sessions but still remained far apart as of March 9, when the group dated their potential strike.
Saturday Night Live, which is beginning to wrap up its 48th season, will air its next episode, hosted by Quinta Brunson, April 1.
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