AFTRA, SAG strike tentative deal on new TV, Theatrical Contracts


Good news–television and movie actors and the major Hollywood studios may have a deal at hand: The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) have reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements to the Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (covering scripted network primetime and pay TV programs), The CW Supplement and the Producers-SAG Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs.

Formal negotiations between the 26-member Joint AFTRA-SAG Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on 9/27 in LA. Talks were preceded by months of joint wages and working conditions meetings held this past summer.

The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the Joint National Board of AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild, and ratification by the unions’ memberships. The current contracts expire on 6/30/11, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from 7/1/11, through 6/30/14.

The term of the agreement is 3 years commencing July 1, 2011

* A 6% wage increase over the term of the agreement with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013

* A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds and Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans, bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011. This represents the largest dollar value increase to the plans, under these contracts, since the plans were founded and is the largest percentage increase to the plans in more than two decades

* Two additional background positions in theatrical and one additional background position in television in the Western Zones

* An expansion of major role provisions to apply to new pay television series commencing in their second season

* Expanded union coverage over made for new media productions

* Increases in the area of money and schedule breaks

* Improved contract language to increase equal employment opportunities for union performers.

* The unions also agreed to modifications in the travel provisions of the contracts.

Said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon: “I am extremely pleased we met our goal of increasing contributions to our retirement and pension plans, and that we successfully completed this negotiation now to protect the needs of performers early in the process. I applaud AFTRA Chief Negotiator Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and I thank Screen Actors Guild Co-Chair President Howard for his strong and supportive leadership. Our joint negotiating committee worked together seamlessly and in solidarity, and I am very proud of their work.”

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard added, “Strengthening the Pension and Health Plans was our top priority in these negotiations – making such a significant gain in that area was a vital achievement. Increased wages across the contract and the expansion of the major role premium into pay television will not only put more money in performers’ pockets, but will provide yet another boost to our P&H funds. I’m grateful to have worked closely with AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and want to give special thanks to SAG Chief Negotiator David White and his bargaining team. All the staff and members of this joint committee, from both unions, deserve praise for their focus and dedication. We had to make some difficult decisions, but working together, we’ve reached a deal that will protect our essential pension and health benefits for years to come.”

Details of the new agreement will be submitted for approval to the Joint National Board of AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild. Upon approval, the pact will be sent out for joint ratification by the unions’ memberships.