SAG-AFTRA members have given a big thumbs up to a new three-year network code agreement covering most daytime TV, award shows and mainstay such as “Saturday Night Live,” “Jeopardy,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and others.
The new pact was approved by a 94.7% margin. SAG-AFTRA emphasized the financial gains in the deal as well as contract provisions increasing protections for performers around sexually explicit material. This brings the contract governing daytime TV in line with post-#MeToo provisions added in 2020 to SAG-AFTRA’s master network primetime TV and theatrical contract. SAG-AFTRA billed it as: “Greatly improved nudity and simulated sex provisions that match the achievements made in the 2020 TV/Theatrical Contracts negotiation.”
The union made a point of showing respect to dancers by highlighting increases for hoofers “on primetime variety shows and award shows in the extra rehearsal rate (from $30 to $40) and overtime rates (from $45 for primetime variety and $48 for award show rehearsal days to $55 for both), including a new $70 overtime rate for hours in excess of 12 in a day.”
Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, highlighted the gains in safety and improved working conditions for performers in announcing the high rate of ratification for the deal.
“This agreement is a step toward elevating our consciousness and sensitivity regarding safe spaces for performers on set,” Drescher said. “That is a big, transformative win. I also am pleased that our negotiators made meaningful gains with new compensation and improved protections for our members.”
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s newly appointed national executive director and chief negotiator, pointed to the variety of job categories that will see meaningful pay bumps over the coming years.
“This agreement was a direct product of member engagement and involvement. It achieved gains in a number of key areas that members said were most important to them, including for dancers, singers, promo announcers and stand-ins, among others,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “And achieving those gains was made possible thanks to the hard work of the Negotiating Committee, member leaders and staff.”
SAG-AFTRA highlighted other key gains:
- For primetime award shows and entertainment specials, producers are now required to provide transportation to and lodging at broadcast centers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., which are presently exceptions to transportation and lodging obligations for all types of programming.
- Required lodging or transportation when exhaustion or inclement weather prevent safe driving.
- Notice of authorized rehearsals required to be given to dancers to enable dancers and the union to surface and resolve disputes over whether rehearsals are covered.
- Singers now receive doubling pay at 50% of the applicable dancer program fee when required to learn “complex choreography.”
- Where there are more than two weeks of rehearsal for an award show or primetime entertainment special, rehearsal pay is due biweekly instead of after show day.
- First-ever requirement to pay scale — set at the same as traditional media scale — for promotional announcements made for new media with an additional 15% due for use beyond 13 weeks.
- First-ever requirement of additional compensation — set at 15% of minimum fee — for reuse beyond 13 weeks of a traditional media promotional announcement reused in new media.
- Automatic $14 additional compensation for background actors and stand-ins required to work in artificially generated rain or smoke (excluding herbal cigarettes) when not able to wear appropriate swim, surf or snow gear.
(Pictured: “Saturday Night Live.”)