SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have tentatively reached a new three-year deal that includes "outsized" wage gains for background performers.
The deal includes a wage increases of 5 percent per year over the three-year term for background performers on the CW and for stand-ins. Overall, members will receive wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the third year. Increases are retroactive to July 1.
Moreover, producers agreed to contribute an additional 0.5 percent to the pension, health and retirement plans. The deal also includes improved terms and conditions and full TV-rate minimums for Netflix, Hulu Plus and other similar subscription video on demand (SVOD) productions.
The new television agreement, which unifies the old SAG and AFTRA TV deals, was announced early Friday morning. "Unifying the legacy SAG and AFTRA contracts was essential and I am very pleased that we were able to achieve that," SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said in a statement. "As important, we have established an industry-wide, basic cable agreement – something we have wanted for two decades. We’ve also secured a very competitive wage package for members and a large bump in our pension, health and retirement contributions."
The parties had extended their talks three times, forcing union actors to work under the old contracts, which expired June 30. The producers said they were "pleased" to reach a deal.
"This deal memorializes our partnership with the new union as we worked together to forge a new unified television agreement," AMPTP said in a statement. "The entire industry gains the assurance of a third and final agreement with the above-the-line unions. We congratulate SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard, National Executive Director David White, Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez and all of the members of the SAG-AFTRA Bargaining Committee on a successful negotiation.”
By timing the announcement of the deal to coincide with Fourth of July celebrations, the conclusion to the most important negotiations in the union’s post-merger history was essentially a non-event.
Talks began May 5 with Carol Lombardini leading the producers’ side of the table, while Howard and White lead the union half. On July 4, the parties reaches a deal on a 2014 Producers-SAG-AFTRA Codified Basic Agreement and an industry-wide 2014 SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement as the successor agreement to Screen Actors Guild Television Agreement, Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, the CW Supplement and the basic cable agreements.
Terms of the new agreements will now be presented to SAG-AFTRA’s national board, which will vote to approve them at its July 12 meeting. The union, which was the last major guild to start talks with the AMPTP, was under pressure to deliver a bumper agreement. SAG-AFTRA leaders in the year leading up to the negotiations talked up their improved leverage as a merged organization. Whether these terms are enough to satisfy its membership remains to be seen.
“Throughout the wages and working conditions process our members told us where they were feeling pain and the areas on which we should focus," stated White. "We met that directive and have delivered a valuable set of gains in the face of tough bargaining from the member companies of the AMPTP."