Screen Actors Guild

The national board of the Screen Actors Guild approved a two-year contract for film and television work Sunday, almost certainly averting any chance of a strike by the union.

The contract now goes to the guild's 120,000 members for approval.

On Saturday, the union also approved a three-year contract for commercial work.

The union's 71-member national board was closely split, reflecting the internal strife that has divided the union for months. A dispute over whether to pursue a strike or attempt future negotiations led to the ouster of SAG chief negotiator and executive director Doug Allen earlier this year. Allen had been a leading voice in favor of a strike, which many feared would decimate the film and television industries. 

SAG-covered actors have worked without a film and television contract since June, when producers made what they then called their best and final offer.

A source familiar with the negotiations told TVGuide.com Friday that the union and producers reached an agreement on the new contract through back-channel talks outside of formal negotiations. The two sides reached the deal when producers agreed to SAG's demand that the contract expire in two years, rather than the three that producers requested.

The new agreement contains no significant improvements for actors over the one offered by producers nine months ago, prompting complaints that SAG delayed a contract for nothing. But the economy took a significant downturn after the June offer, and SAG's prospects dimmed with it.