SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Netcode Deal

The deal was approved by 93 percent; ballots now go to the members
AP Images
SAG-AFTRA's David White

The SAG-AFTRA board has approved an agreement previously reached with broadcast television networks and producers for a renewal of the Network Television Code (Netcode) pact.

The contract, which was approved with 93 percent of the board voting in favor of sending it on to union members for ratification, covers syndicated dramatic programs, daytime serials (soap operas), promotional announcements, variety, quiz, game, reality, talk, news, sports and other non-dramatic programs.

The deal was reached Nov. 14. Subject to ratification, the contract runs from  Nov. 16, 2014, to June 30, 2018.

Key terms of the deal include:

* Wage increases for most  program categories of 2.5 percent in the first year and 3 percent in each of years two and three. For soap opera performers, increases are 2, 2.5 and 2.5 percent, respectively, and for network news, the increases are 2 percent in each of the three years.

* A 0.5 percent increase in health and retirement contributions by the producers.

* A reduction in streaming windows and increases in the streaming residuals rate consistent with the industry pattern.

* Language that helps facilitate the merging of the SAG and AFTRA benefit plans.

* Expanded ability for stunt coordinators to work under the Netcode.

* An increase to background rehearsal rates in year two, from $11 per hour to $15 per hour, and an increase for principal rehearsal rates in year two, from $25 per hour to $28 per hour.

* Increases in the overtime rate from $37.50 per hour to $42 per hour, and $16.50 per hour to $22.50 per hour, respectively.

* An increase in the stand-in rate for non-dramatic programming, from $24 per hour to $25 per hour in year one, and from $25 per hour to $26 per hour in year three.

* For the first time, a premium payment for solo/duo singers for multitracking and sweetening.

* Agreement that a bulletin will be issued to producers of content under the agreement to help ensure adequate warm-up space for dancers.

The Netcode also is referred to as the “front of book” to distinguish it from a provision, Exhibit A, that formerly covered scripted primetime programming, That provision is now subsumed in the SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement, which was negotiated earlier this year and ratified by the union membership in August.

Employment under the Netcode generates more than $200 million a year in covered member earnings, according to the union. The agreement covers programming in all television day parts (except for scripted primetime programs on the networks and the CW) and similar programming produced for digital media. Covered programs include dramas and comedies in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports and promotional announcements, including Good Morning America, The View, The Price Is Right, The Young and the Restless, Saturday Night Live, Dancing With the Stars, The Voice, Amazing Race, Nightline and Late Night With David Letterman.

Members should receive the ratification package within the next week and will probably have about four weeks to return ballots, based on past union practice.

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Email: jh@jhandel.com

Twitter: @jhandel

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