What the Latest SAG-AFTRA Deal Means for Actors

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SAG-AFTRA’s leadership formally approved a deal that gives a pay hike to soap opera actors and other members. The deal between the union, whose national board voted 93 percent in favor of the agreement Tuesday, and the four major television broadcast networks covers performers on programs ranging from "The Young and the Restless" and "Saturday Night Live” to "Dancing with the Stars."

Negotiations over the deal, known formally as the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting concluded on Nov. 14. The contract term runs Nov. 16 to June 30, 2018. According to a SAG-AFTRA release, here are the deal’s major points:

  • Increases in contract minimums over a three-year period, including an 8.7 percent overall wage increase to most program fees, implemented through increases of 2.5 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year.
  • In accordance with customary practice, increases in other categories as follows:An increase in contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds of .5 percent, starting in year one;
    • a 7.2-percent overall wage increase for serial (soap opera) performers, implemented through increases of 2 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third year;
    • and 6.1-percent increase in overall wages for work in network news, implemented through increases of 2 percent per year for three years;
  • Expands the ability for stunt coordinators to work under this contract;
  • A 36-percent increase to background rehearsal rates in year two, from $11 per hour to $15 per hour, and a 12-percent increase for principal rehearsal rates in year two from $25 per hour to $28 per hour;
  • Increases in the overtime rate from $37.50 per hour to $42 per hour for principals, and $16.50 per hour to $22.50 per hour for background actors;
  • An 8-percent increase in the stand-in rate for non-dramatic programming, increasing from $24 per hour to $25 per hour in year one, and from $25 per hour to $26 per hour in year three;
  • For the first time, achieved a premium payment for solo/duo singers for multi-tracking and sweetening;
  • Agreement that a bulletin will be issued to producers of content under this agreement to help ensure adequate warm-up space for dancers;
  • Increases in the streaming residuals rate and a reduction in streaming windows, consistent with the industry pattern;
  • Language to help facilitate the merger of the SAG and AFTRA benefit plans.

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