SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Commercials Contract

Members of SAG-AFTRA have ratified a three-year successor deal to the union’s master contract with the advertising industry.

Union leaders have asserted the commercials deal includes “more than $200 million” in pay hikes for members. The previous master contract provided $238 million in pay gains for members.

The contract is retroactive to March 31. It will expire on March, 31, 2019. In national voting, the membership of SAG-AFTRA voted 92.25 percent in favor of the new agreements.

“The commercials contracts help protect the working conditions, livelihood and pension, health and retirement benefits of thousands of our members,” SAG-AFTRA president and negotiating committee co-chair Gabrielle Carteris in a statement. “The robust participation in this ratification vote demonstrates how SAG-AFTRA’s future is driven from our members up to the elected leadership. I want to thank the members who voted and congratulate our negotiating team, including co-chair Sue-Anne Morrow and our negotiators, David White and Ray Rodriguez, on a job well done.”

The performers union, which has about 160,000 members, sent out voting instructions to eligible members on April 18. The deal contains a 7% hike in minimum wage rates and a 1.2% increase in employer contributions to health and retirements funds.

The SAG-AFTRA national board approved the deal unanimously on April 10, triggering the ratification vote. The tentative agreement was reached on April 3.

The contract covers an estimated $1 billion in annual wages for performers. The health and retirement contributions will be made to the separate SAG and AFTRA plans and total 18% of compensation.

The deal includes a 2% increase in residuals paid for national network broadcast commercials, also known as Class A; a 6% increase in national cable residuals; and increases in residuals for Internet commercials and commercials on cell phones. But the deal also contains a concession that television commercials can be concurrently streamed on the Internet or cell phones without additional compensation.

The deal also contains a “strategic expansion” to the definition of a commercial that will help protect the contract’s coverage in the area of digital, according the union increases to Internet and New Media use fees ranging from 6.25% to 16.7%; new protections for minors to ensure qualified set teachers; a new rate for stand-ins at 110% of the general extra rate; and recognition of Veteran’s Day as a contractual holiday.

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