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SAG-AFTRA has set Feb. 17  as the starting date for its negotiations with the advertising industry on a successor deal to its master contract.

The union’s national board voted Saturday to approve the contract proposal package Saturday and the negotiating committee. Negotiations will be held in New York.

The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. It was the first major successor agreement to go into effect under the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA and received 96% support in the ratification vote, with pay increases totaling $238 million during its three-year life.

SAG-AFTRA’s rules require that the union leadership appoint a negotiating committee to conduct “wages and working conditions” meetings, then meet with the national board for approval of that package before negotiations begin.

In the 2013 negotiations, which lasted two months, SAG-AFTRA made little effort to mobilize members in support of its positions. But the union launched a campaign last year against performing work in the fast-growing non-union commercial sector in what’s been dubbed the Commercials Organizing and Recapture Initiative.

Since October, the union has focused its efforts on campaigning for Droga5 to stop using union performers for non-union work. It delivered a petition on Jan. 12 with 8,000  signatures to the agency’s New York headquarters.

SAG-AFTRA also said the board received a finance report from Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto and reported that results for its second quarter ended Oct. 31 are “tracking to budget.

The national board passed several resolutions, including ratifying the Uptown Animation Agreement and supporting the creation of an Animated Short Film Agreement. It also approved the 2016 Music Video Negotiating Committee

SAG-AFTRA gave no details of the contract proposal. For the past six years, President Ken Howard and National Executive David White have opted to keep details of contract negotiations under the radar until the conclusion of negotiations.

Howard has headed the moderate Unite for Strength faction since 2009.

 

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