The National Board of Directors of SAG-AFTRA met today via videoconference in the first day of a regularly scheduled two-day plenary. It agreed to cancel early bargaining of the Commercials Contracts. The National Board also ended the SAG Interactive Media Agreement and soon will put into effect the AFTRA agreement. It also approved an industry-wide music video pact. Here are the relevant portions of today’s announcement:
— The National Board unanimously approved an agreement with the Joint Policy Committee, which bargains the Commercials Contracts on behalf of employers, to pursue a “Clearinghouse Project” designed to address some of the data challenges encountered during the Gross Ratings Point (“GRP”) Pilot Project conducted pursuant to the 2009 Commercials Contracts. This agreement results in the mutually agreed upon cancellation of an October early bargaining period regarding GRP that the parties had agreed to during the 2009 negotiations.
In light of the additional preparation time made available by the cancellation of early bargaining, the National Board approved a revised schedule for the Commercials Contracts wages and working conditions process. The process will begin with educational meetings to be held in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago beginning August 7th. Formal W&W meetings will be scheduled to begin after September 10th. The start date of formal negotiations for successor agreements to the 2009 Commercials Contracts has not yet been set.
— The National Board also unanimously approved terminating the legacy SAG Interactive Media Agreement via 60-day notice to producers who had been using the expired contract. Those producers will be invited to transition to the active legacy AFTRA agreement.
— The National Board unanimously approved the first industry-wide music video agreement negotiated with representatives of the major record labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co. and most of their subsidiary labels.
Assistant National Executive Director of Sound Recordings, Randall Himes, joined by National Director of Sound Recordings Stephanie Taub; Western Region Organizing Director, Steve Sidawi; music video negotiating committee members SAG-AFTRA National Board member and dancer Sharon Ferguson (worked with music video artists including Prince and No Doubt); and dancers Aimee Winston (Kylie Minogue), Ava Bernstine (Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears), Danielle Towne, (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas), and Cassidy Noblett (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry), presented the board with the tentative agreement representing the first-ever industry-wide contract with the major record labels covering dancers and other performers on music videos.
Ferguson said, “I am just bowled over by the board’s unanimous vote. This agreement was reached after a long and hard-fought effort. It delivers good terms for dancers and other performers who work in music videos and so much more. It’s a historic agreement, but that doesn’t really do justice to how proud we are to achieve a contract that sets the first industry-wide standard for wages and working conditions in music video production. That’s huge!”
Himes said, “This is a great first agreement for our union and I’m honored to have led the negotiating team. I thank the board for their unanimous vote of approval and want to highlight the great work of our member negotiating committee, outside counsel Susan Davis of Cohen Weiss and Simon LLP, and most of all, the dancers and all performers who work in music videos – this is without question their victory.”
The contract officially takes effect on Monday, July 23, 2012.