DEAL! SAG-AFTRA & Producers Reach Tentative Agreement On New Film & TV Contract; Read The Terms

By David Robb, Erik Pedersen


UPDATED with terms of the deal, 9:04 AM: Happy Fourth of July, Hollywood. After a marathon overnight bargaining session, SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative deal on a new film and TV contract, thus averting a threatened strike. The agreement must now be approved by the union’s board of directors, and then ratified by the members. Both are expected to pass overwhelmingly.

The deal was announced at 6:40 a.m Tuesday morning by a rep for the companies. If ratified, the new three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers would run through June 30, 2020.

The union says the new deal will generate an additional $256 million for performers over the next three years. Highlights of the tentative agreement 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)

o    First residual is now due in 90 days rather than one year

o    Increase in the residual rate

o    First ever residuals compensation for foreign use

  • 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

“This is a forward-looking package with meaningful gains across our entire membership,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, who chaired the negotiating committee. “Working with our terrific negotiating committee and staff, we achieved significant improvements in streaming new media compensation. We also established comprehensive travel guidelines to eliminate ambiguity and provide a seasonal fee schedule for location series work.

“Over the last 18 months, I’ve met and talked extensively with members throughout the country. Those conversations, along with our comprehensive wages and working conditions meetings, guided our bargaining strategy and helped build strength and unity. I am grateful to our members for their input and steadfast support which helped us achieve this excellent result. I also want to thank my fellow negotiating committee members and staff who worked incredibly hard to secure this deal. They’ve taken time away from their jobs and families to serve the members in these negotiations. I am most thankful to our chief negotiator David White for his expertise and dedication on behalf of the members.”

Said White, the union’s national executive director: “This negotiation was a heavy lift. We addressed several critical concerns related to travel pay and option periods as well as improving the residuals structure for streaming new media. We also achieved historic gains for our background community and additional enhancements affecting the general membership. I thank President Carteris and the negotiating committee for their hard work in achieving this deal. I also want to recognize my invaluable partnership with Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, and the many contributions of senior adviser John McGuire, associate national executive director Mathis Dunn, national directors Jennifer Gaudry, Beth Millman and Olga Rodriguez-Aguirre, and the rest of our talented professional staff.”

SAG-AFTRA’s current contract expired Friday at midnight PT and had been extended each of the past three nights. If a deal hadn’t been reached, union leaders had vowed to ask their members for strike authorization. It would have been the first actors’ strike against the film and TV industry since 1980, although the union is currently engaged in a 253-day strike against selected video game companies — the longest strike in SAG history.

Informal talks for the new pact began on May 15, but formal negotiations didn’t begin until May 31, which only gave negotiators a month to reach an agreement.

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