National Network Code Negotiating Committee Approved
Los Angeles and New York (July 12, 2014) – The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) National Board of Directors met today in a one-day videoconference plenary and overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers at midnight on July 4. With the board’s approval, the deal now goes to the union’s membership for ratification.
Eligible SAG-AFTRA members will vote on the proposed successor agreements covering motion pictures, scripted primetime dramatic television and new media production. The tentative deal unifies SAG and AFTRA television contracts under a new 2014 SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement. In addition, the first industry-wide agreement for performers in basic cable production is now incorporated into the new Television Agreement. Click here for a PDF of key deal points.
The board approved the tentative agreement 90 percent to 10 percent and recommended a vote of “yes” to ratify the contracts.
In keeping with the National Board’s prior policy resolution in this area, the national referendum for the TV/Theatrical agreements will be conducted via an online vote to ratify the contracts. Traditional paper ballots will also be available on request to any eligible voter who requests such a ballot.
Members who are eligible to vote (under the National Multi-Employer Collective Bargaining Agreement Policy) will receive a postcard with ballot instructions explaining how to vote electronically or how to request a paper ballot. This postcard will be mailed to members on or about July 23, 2014.
The ratification votes received by the voting deadline of approximately August 22, 2014, (electronically or by mail) will be tabulated that day.
Additionally, informational meetings will be scheduled for members across the country. Comprehensive details of the agreement will be posted prior to the balloting period.
The current contracts remain in effect during the member ratification process. The term of the new agreement is for three years effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017 and is retroactive upon ratification.
SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said, “I am grateful to the board for its approval and recommendation of this agreement and I am proud of what the negotiating team was able to achieve in this negotiation. The unification of the contracts was a priority for us and is a significant gain as is the wage increase — this is the first 3 percent increase in a couple of contract cycles and that is great. This landmark agreement includes provisions that will serve the members for years to come.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said, “In addition to securing immediate increases for our members, our negotiating committee remained focused on the long-term vitality of this union and of our contracts. I’m pleased that we achieved the essential and historic unification of our entertainment agreements as well as a substantial wage increase and a boost to employer contributions to our benefits plans. We also improved terms for streaming content and in other areas of new media. Overall, this negotiation embraces the many changes sweeping the industry and positions our membership for strength at the bargaining table in the years ahead.”
Formal negotiations between the 26-member SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Monday, May 5, in Los Angeles and concluded at midnight on July 4, 2014. Talks were preceded by wages and working conditions meetings held this past spring.
Board members also approved the appointment of a National Network Code Wages & Working Conditions Committee of 13 voting members and ten alternates that will also serve as the negotiating committee. SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard will chair the committee and National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White will serve as Chief Negotiator for the union. The Network Code Wages and Working Conditions process will commence on or after August 11 and ending on or about September 5.
The Network Code is among the union’s largest national collective bargaining agreements and covers programming in all television day parts, except for primetime dramatic programs on the networks and The CW. This includes morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contests, sports, first-run syndicated dramas and promotional announcements. Current programs covered by this contract include: Good Morning America, The View, The Price is Right, General Hospital, Saturday Night Live, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, Survivor, 20/20, and Late Show with David Letterman, among others.
The National Board received reports including:
President Howard provided a summary report regarding TV/Theatrical negotiations and updated the board on recent meetings with broadcast member leaders in the Washington-Mid-Atlantic Local and other strategic activities.
Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto reported on SAG-AFTRA’s 2014 Year End financials including an unqualified audit opinion from the union’s accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Ozzanto also reported a year-end surplus of $8 million due to expense management efforts and increased revenue from dues and initiation fees.
National Executive Director’s Report
National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White provided the board with a summary report on operations and an update on TV/Theatrical negotiations and the recently agreed upon tentative agreement.
Legal and Governance Report
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland reported on administrative and governance matters. The board set October 11 and 12, 2014 for its next meeting and approved Oct. 1 – 4, 2015 as the dates for the second SAG-AFTRA national convention which will be held in Los Angeles.
Crabtree-Ireland also reported on the ongoing distribution of foreign royalties to SAG-AFTRA members and the board approved enhanced and renewed foreign royalties collection agreements with collecting societies in Spain and Germany.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:16 p.m. PT.