Members of SAG-AFTRA have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new film and TV contract. The union says the deal with management’s AMPTP will generate an additional $256 million more for performers over the next three years — a 30% increase from three years ago. The contract was approved by a vote of 75.79% to 24.21% of those who cast ballots. Approximately 140,000 members were mailed ballots; 15.33% voted.
The union also noted that it secured significant improvements in the residuals rate paid to performers for exhibition of their performances on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon.
The pact’s ratification is a major show of support for SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, who campaigned all across the country for its approval, and a major setback for her two main political rivals — Esai Morales and Peter Antico — who urged a “no” vote on the contract in their campaigns to unseat her in the union’s ongoing election. It’s also a big win for Carteris’ Unite for Strength slate of running mates, who also endorsed ratification, and a ringing endorsement of the leadership of David White, the union’s chief negotiator and national executive director.
“With these new provisions, members will be compensated for global use of their work on streaming new media platforms – such as Netflix and Amazon – in addition to seeing significant gains in streaming media residuals. These gains speak not just to today, but to our future by establishing important new guidelines on travel and options as well as providing meaningful gains for the background community,” Carteris said, “I thank the many members who had input throughout this process. The gains in this contract reflect their hard work and their voices in negotiations.” She then thanked fellow negotiating committee members, the staff and White as well.
White added: “I thank the members for their participation in the process and commend their vote to approve the agreement. This new contract sets an important standard for our members today and tomorrow. For more than two years, our member negotiating committee and staff team worked tirelessly to develop necessary proposals that would secure members’ financial improvements while updating archaic and unclear portions of the agreement. With that package in hand, we bargained significant gains for members across the board in addition to outsized enhancements for background actors and television series performers. We also secured crucial improvements in streaming media residuals paid to our members working in programs made for streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. I am grateful to the member negotiating committee and the exemplary staff team headed by Chief Contracts Officer and Lead Negotiator Ray Rodriguez for their dedication and hard work.”
Highlights of the new contract include:
- Wage increases of 2.5% in the first year, 3% in the second year and 3% in the third year
- A one-half percent increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the SAG Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund in the first year of the agreement, raising the total contribution rate to 17.5% effective July 1, 2017
- An additional 0.2% increase in funding to the SAG-AFTRA industry cooperative funds, which will support monitoring animal safety on sets, safety training and sexual harassment prevention training
- Recognition of Middle Eastern North African as a diverse category in the casting data report
- Agreement to study the design and implementation of an electronic reporting system for performer work times
- Improved residuals for programming made for SVOD (subscription video-on-demand)
* Improvements to money and schedule breaks
- Improvements to the advertiser-supported streaming residuals
- Outsized increase of 18% for background actors working under the CW supplement
- Terms requiring that all background actors be paid double-time starting after 10 hours of work