SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry have reached a tentative agreement on a new master contract.
The two sides made the annnouncement Sunday but did not disclose any details, including how many years the deal covers. The contract will go into effect following approval by the SAG-AFTRA national board at its April 9-10 meeting and a subsequent ratification vote by the 160,000 members of the performers union.
The joint announcement said that a deal had been reached at 3 a.m. Sunday in New York City after seven weeks of negotiations. The contract covers about $1 billion in annual wages for performers.
Both sides have declined to comment on the talks, which launched Feb. 17 in New York City with the pledge that a news blackout would be in effect until there was a deal in place.
SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry had extended the expiration of the current three-year master contract on Thursday by two days to Saturday night. The two sides made the announcement Thursday night an hour before the contract would have expired. It was the first announcement after seven weeks of silence during commercial contract talks.
SAG-AFTRA acting president and negotiating committee co-chair Gabrielle Carteris said, “The tentative agreement delivers essential gains while properly positioning us for future growth in digital and social media. As content evolves, we are poised to grow work opportunities that support members and their families.”
Carteris became acting president and negotiating committee co-chair for the union following the March 23 death of Ken Howard.
SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee co-chair Sue-Anne Morrow said the agreement achieved “creative new elements” that make the contract more relevant in a rapidly changing industry and guarantee the expansion of work opportunities for members.
The joint release said, “Both parties recognized the positive and productive results of this negotiation and highlighted their joint commitment to grow the work for performers under these contracts while enhancing wages, creating new opportunities for advertisers and further strengthening the industry.”
Douglas J. Wood, lead negotiator for the ad industry, said, “I also want to thank the members of my team who worked tirelessly over the past six weeks. I’d also like to acknowledge the memory of Kathleen Quinn of the 4A’s. Kathleen tragically passed away during the negotiations. Kathleen was a pillar on our team for more than 20 years. She will be missed by everyone. The success of this negotiation reflects the sense of partnership the JPC and SAG-AFTRA have built over the past 15 years.”
Wood’s reference to the 15 years is tied to the era following the bitter 2000 strike by SAG and AFTRA against the ad industry. That strike lasted for six months — one of the longest work stoppages in the history of the entertainment industry.
Wood also said, “Despite very complex issues that initially had significant differences for both sides of the table, through open and honest collaboration we reached a balanced and fair agreement for all parties.”