Ad contracts unveiled

SAG, AFTRA say proposals never released so early in negotiating process

Both sides’ proposals for upcoming contract talks between advertisers and the two actors’ unions will be exchanged and made public today as a prelude to the start of face-to-face negotiations three weeks from now.

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said the disclosure of the proposals’ content has never before been released so early in the negotiating process. The current three-year commercials contract expires March 31.

“Our members have sent a clear message that they want greater involvement in the negotiations process, which led to the creation of our contract campaign and ultimately the decision to release our proposals prior to the official start of talks,” said Katherine Moore, SAG’s national director of communications. “The issue is getting information into the hands of an educated membership. Releasing the proposals is part of that effort.”

The negotiations will be the first for SAG since its membership voted in William Daniels over incumbent Richard Masur in November following a campaign in which Daniels contended that the union should take a tougher stance at the bargaining table. Daniels was part of the Performers Alliance, which was formed in 1997 to oppose ratification of the commercials contract. It won 18 of the 20 SAG board seats in November.

Union members began working last summer to identify issues for negotiators. The list includes cable residuals, commercial monitoring, Spanish-lingo commercials, rates for background actors and stunt safety. SAG, which has adopted an “It’s broke — let’s fix it” slogan for the negotiations, has scheduled a “town hall meeting” from 2-4 p.m Jan. 29 at its Los Angeles headquarters to discuss the proposals.

Advertisers will be represented by the Joint Policy Committee of the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies and the Assn. of National Advertisers. Talks are tentatively scheduled to begin Feb. 14-25 in New York City and then resume March 11.

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