SAG-AFTRA's New Deal Unifies TV Coverage, Broadens Basic Cable Agreement
SAG-AFTRA's leadership revealed details of their just-sealed deal with Hollywood producers on Friday, citing a number of “significant gains” in their new three-year primetime and feature movie contract.
The contract is the first since the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artistsmerged in 2012. The agreement was announced late Thursday after three 24-hour extensions of the former deal, which expired Monday.
The new pact unifies the separate SAG and AFTRA primetime TV contracts, and includes the first industry-wide agreement in basic cable live-action production. Members will receive wage increases of 8.5%, compounding to 8.7% over the three-year term. Producers will further contribute an additional 0.5% to the Pension, Health and Retirement plans.
“Unifying the legacy SAG and AFTRA contracts was essential and I am very pleased that we were able to achieve that,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard in a message that he and National Executive Director David White sent to the union's 165,000 members. “As important, we have established an industry-wide, basic cable agreement – something we have wanted for two decades.
“We've also secured a very competitive wage package for members and a large bump in our pension, health and retirement contributions,” Howard said.
Those raises and pension contributions are in line with earlier deals that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers negotiated with the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America.
“This deal memorializes our partnership with the new union as we worked together to forge a new unified television agreement,” the AMPTP said in a statement Friday. “The entire industry gains the assurance of a third and final agreement with the above-the-line unions.”
The new contract also includes raises in network primetime residuals ceilings and increases in the streaming residual rate for ad-supported video on demand.
Here's the letter, with a summary of the contract below that.
Dear Member, We are pleased to announce that last night we reached a tentative agreement in our TV/Theatrical Contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
We achieved a number of significant gains, including the historic unification of our legacy SAG and AFTRA primetime television contracts into one SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement. This new contract will also incorporate the first ever industry-wide agreement in basic cable live action production. The deal also calls for improved terms and conditions and full television rate minimums for productions made for subscription video on demand(SVOD) services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and similar platforms.
Members will receive wage increases of 8.5%, compounding to 8.7% over the three-year term. Producers will further contribute an additional 0.5% to the Pension, Health and Retirement plans. We gained outsized wage increases of 5% per year over the three-year term for background performers on the CW and for stand-ins.
Additional enhancements include raises in network primetime residuals ceilings and increases in the streaming residual rate for ad supported video on demand.
An overview of the agreement is included in the report below.
Here's the release, which includes the contact details:
LOS ANGELES (July 4, 2014) — Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) today announced it has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements covering motion pictures, scripted prime-time dramatic television and new media production.
The tentative deal unifies SAG and AFTRA television contracts under a new 2014 SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement. In addition, the first industry-wide agreement for performers in basic cable production is now incorporated into the new Television Agreement.
The union secured wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year, and 3 percent in the third year. Wage improvements are retroactive to July 1, 2014.
Additionally, there is a first-year increase of .5 percent in the contribution rate applicable to the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension Plan and the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, bringing the total benefits contribution rate to 17 percent.
The union also achieved outsized wage increases of 5 percent per year over the three-year term for all stand-ins and for background performers employed under The CW Supplement.
Significant improvements were secured in the residuals rate paid to performers for streaming product from 3.5 percent of minimum to 4 percent in year one, from 4 percent to 4.5 percent in year two and from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in year three. Along with the rate increase, the union also narrowed the producers’ free streaming window from 17 days to 7 days, meaning that performers are more likely to accrue streaming residuals.
Additional gains in new media include the establishment of terms, similar to those in television, for minimums and residuals formulas for high-budget original product made for subscriber video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and similar platforms.
Other provisions include enhancements in the network primetime residuals ceilings.
The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors and ratification by the union's membership.
Highlights of the tentative agreement include:
3-year agreement commencing July 1, 2014 and expiring June 30, 2017
Contract unification including the first SAG-AFTRA industry-wide agreement covering basic cable
Wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the third year
A half-percent increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild-Producers
An outsized increase for stand-ins of 5 percent per year in each of the three years of the contract
Developed a contribution allocation method to help stabilize the funding of the pension, health and retirement funds
An agreement to pursue merger of the legacy unions’ industry cooperative funds
A mechanism to amend contract provisions, as necessary, to facilitate a merger of the health plans
Other gains include an increase to the rate paid to performers for streaming product, a reduction in the free streaming window from 17 days to 7 days, and improved residuals formulas An increase in the amount of money performers must be paid before their residuals can be advance paid in several areas, including under The CW Supplement
Additional covered background actor positions in the Western Zones in TV and Theatrical beginning in year two of the contract by excluding more stand-ins from the count. Two additional stand-ins will be excluded from the count in television in the second year and one stand-in will be excluded from the count in theatrical productions Allowance increases in several areas
“This is a great package with real, measurable gains in numerous areas of our agreements,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “I want to thank the negotiating committee members for their service. Each of them took time away from work and family to serve the members in these negotiations. We all are grateful for the terrific leadership of our Chief Negotiator David White and our full negotiating team. Because of their dedication and thorough preparation, we remained unified throughout this process and really delivered for SAG-AFTRA members.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said, “The leadership has done exemplary work here and has secured a hard-fought and valuable agreement. I am proud and pleased to have worked side-by-side with President Ken Howard and the negotiating committee to achieve this historic milestone for SAG-AFTRA. Not only did we unify our agreements, a critical step in our march towards a merger of our benefits plans, but we now have improvements in the pension, health and retirement contribution rates, outsized gains for background actors and stand-ins and significant enhancements in other areas.
“Throughout the wages and working conditions process our members told us where they were feeling pain and the areas on which we should focus. We met that directive and have delivered a valuable set of gains in the face of tough bargaining from the member companies of the AMPTP. I am very proud of our committee's work and of the many contributions of our negotiations team, in particular our Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, Senior Adviser John McGuire, Associate National Executive Director Mathis Dunn, Assistant National Executive Director Joan Halpern Weise and the rest of our professional staff.”
Details of the new agreement will be submitted for review and approval by the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors at its regularly scheduled meeting on July 12. Upon approval, the pact will be sent out for ratification by the union's membership.
Formal negotiations between the 26-member SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Monday, May 5, in Los Angeles and concluded at Midnight on July 4, 2014