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SAG-AFTRA, Ad Industry Extend Commercials Contract Expiration

SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have agreed to extend the commercials contract expiration for two days until the end of April 2 while both sides negotiate a successor deal.

Terms and conditions of the 2016 commercials contract — which generates about $1 billion a year for members of the performers union — will remain in effect. The two sides issued a joint statement on Sunday afternoon, a few hours before the contract would have expired.

“The parties will continue to negotiate, remaining under a media blackout,” the union and ad industry said in the statement.

Talks launched on Feb. 20 in New York City under the blackout. The union said in 2016 that the current three-year contract contained “more than $200 million” in pay hikes for members, including a 7% hike in minimum wage rates and a 1.2% increase in employer contributions to health and retirements funds.

SAG-AFTRA has been mobilizing members through an acrimonious strike against ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. BBH abandoned its union contract in September, asserting that the agreement was outdated and accusing SAG-AFTRA of being inflexible. SAG-AFTRA told its members not to work for BBH, which has produced commercials for Audi, Absolut, Ikea, Samsung, and Virgin Media.

The union has held dozens of protests against BHH; a rally earlier this year at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles drew nearly 1,000 members. Signers of a statement of support include Tom Hanks, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Alec Baldwin, Rachel Brosnahan, and Octavia Spencer. More than 5,000 of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members have also signed the ad.

SAG and AFTRA struck the ad industry for six months in 2000 in an acrimonious work stoppage over pay rates and Internet rights.

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