New SAG-AFTRA Unified TV and Film Agreements Get Thumbs Up from Board

SAG-AFTRA’s board of directors has approved by a 90% margin successor agreements reached earlier this month with the AMPTP for motion pictures, scripted primetime TV and new media production. Next the deal will be sent on to the membership for a ratification vote.

Significantly, the new unified SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement incorporates basic cable shows for the first time. Such productions used to be part of a separate agreement, when SAG and AFTRA were two distinct unions.

Major points of the tentative three-year agreement, according to SAG-AFTRA, include:

  • A 2.5% wage increase in the first year, and 3% increases for the next two years
  • A 0.5% increase in contributions to the SAG Pension Plan and AFTRA Health & Retirement Fund (still separately managed entities)
  • Increase in initial pay and residuals for streaming product, and a reduction in the free streaming window from 17 days to 7 days
  • A 5% increase per year for stand-ins
  • Additional covered background actor positions in Western Zones beginning in year two, by excluding additional stand-ins from the count

The board also approved the appointment of a committee to work on negotiations for a successor to AFTRA’s National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting. The so-called “Network Code” or “Front of Book” agreement covers most scripted network non-primetime and non-dramatic primetime programming. That agreement is on a different cycle from the Television Agreement, and is not set to expire until November.

“I am proud of what the negotiating team was able to achieve in this negotiation,” said SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard of the tentative Film and Television agreements. “The unification of the contracts was a priority for us and is a significant gain…”

Notices to union members for online/ballot ratification are expected out July 23, with a deadline of around August 22. Votes will be tabulated on the due date. Current contracts will remain in effect until that time. If ratified, the new agreement will be retroactive to July 1, 2014.

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