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SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal on Commercials Contract

SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year successor deal to their  master contract.

The two sides said the agreement includes a “flexible” compensation model but gave no details. The accord was announced Tuesday night after the current contract was extended two days past its March 31 expiration. The SAG-AFTRA national board will review the pact later this month.

“While specific details will not be released in advance of the board’s review, the tentative deal introduces an innovative and flexible alternative compensation model that specifically addresses the realities of the modern advertising business while preserving and enhancing opportunities for actors to have a professional career,” the announcement said.

The two sides said SAG-AFTRA will see across-the-board wage increases for all categories of work; increases to the benefit plans; coverage of stunt coordinators; “outsized” gains to group dancers; protections against workplace sexual harassment; and streamlined processes for commercial agents representing SAG-AFTRA members.

“This agreement represents a real step forward for actors in this space,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “It modernizes the commercials contracts making them more relevant to the industry now and into the future. It is a monumental advancement in growing our jurisdiction. We are proud to have helped create this important benchmark that clearly speaks to the needs of the membership and the evolution of our industry.”

Stacy Marcus, chief negotiator for the ad industry, said, “The members of our respective committees worked cooperatively to address the serious needs of both the industry and the SAG-AFTRA membership. The result of that hard work and committed partnership is a landmark agreement that protects industry and member interests, while creating a structure that will also grow the opportunities for years to come.”

The commercials contract generates about $1 billion a year for members of the performers union. 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.

 

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