Contracts covers performers in music videos

SAG-AFTRA has reached tentative agreement with the major record labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and the Walt Disney Co. — on a first-ever industrywide contract to cover dancers and other performers on musicvideos.

The union made the announcement Friday, five weeks after warning that it could approve a “do not work” order for its members working on musicvideos as dancers.

The three-year agreement was reached early Friday after the current round of talks between the union and label representatives commenced on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

“Today we reached a historic, tentative agreement with the first industrywide contract for musicvideo performers,” SAG-AFTRA national exec director David White said in a statement. “Our negotiations were productive, resulting in solid gains for SAG-AFTRA members. We also laid the groundwork for a cooperative partnership with the industry that will benefit members throughout the term of the agreement,” he added.

“We are grateful for the strong partnership that we continue to have with SAG-AFTRA,” said Universal Music Group topper Lucian Grainge.

Deal marks the first contract reached by the merged SAG-AFTRA, which combined on March 30 following approval by members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. A few days before the merger went through, the AFTRA national board had approved authorization of a “do not work” order for the work, which AFTRA covered.

At that point AFTRA noted that negotiations for a musicvideo contract with reps from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and their subsidiary labels had launched last June and resumed in January. AFTRA said at the time that the terms offered by the labels were “reprehensible.”

In Friday’s announcement, the union said the effort to reach the pact was led by dancers and choreographers in the industry, including SAG-AFTRA board members Bobbie Bates, Sharon Ferguson and Galen Hooks, and also involved a member mobilization campaign through the Dancers’ Alliance grassroots organization.

The union said highlights of the contract include minimum daily rate for dancers; coverage of all videos produced by any production company producing musicvideos on behalf of the labels; a 12.5% contribution to AFTRA H&R for all covered performers; guaranteed production conditions, including water, toilets, chairs and shelters; a binding grievance and arbitration process; union access to auditions, rehearsals and productions; improved audition conditions, including notification to performers (or their representatives) of start times; individual audition times no longer than four hours; suitable shelter provided during auditions; scale paid if audition footage is used in a musicvideo and reuse of audition footage is paid pursuant to a reuse agreement; 12-hour rest periods between call times, including rehearsals, makeup and wardrobe; safety protections and additional compensation for hazardous performances; and a wardrobe allowance.

SAG-AFTRA said the two sides reached a breakthrough in informal talks earlier in May. The tentative agreement will be submitted to the SAG-AFTRA national board for approval.

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