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SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Extend Contract Expiration

Current contract has been extended to April 7

Representatives of SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have agreed to a one-week extension of the union’s commercials contract, which was due to expire Sunday.

The pact will now expire April 7. Reps of SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies and the Assn. of National Advertisers began negotiations on a successor deal on Feb. 14 and have been operating with a news blackout ever since.

The two sides issued a no-frills statement Tuesday.

“Both parties look forward to continued productive negotiations under the mutually agreed upon and previously announced media blackout still in effect,” they said. “We have no further comment.”

The current contract covers roughly $1 billion in annual earnings. The blackout is in line with the policy of the SAG-AFTRA national board.

Douglas Wood, the lead negotiator for the ad industry told members in a video posted last month that he expected the negotiations to take “virtually every day” through March 31 to reach a deal and that wage increases, hiring practices and digital use would be issues to be discussed.

The JPC notified members in December to consider “prudent planning” in the case of a strike, including rescheduling production planned for March 31 through June. It also advised members to consider taking steps to maintain rights on current commercials if those rights are expiring in the three months after March 31.

The union and the industry are in the final 12 days of a one-year extension to the three-year contract reached in 2009. SAG and AFTRA sought and received the extension in mid-2011 in order to focus their efforts on a merger, which was approved by members last March.

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