SAG-AFTRA Netcode Deal Reached

The deal includes wage increases and improvements in streaming residuals.
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SAG-AFTRA's David White

SAG-AFTRA and the broadcast television networks and producers reached agreement Friday on a renewal of the Network Television Code (Netcode) pact, a contract that covers syndicated dramatic programs, daytime serials (soap operas), promotional announcements, variety, quiz, game, reality, talk, news, sports and other non-dramatic programs, the union announced.

“With the successful conclusion of this negotiation, we have finished unifying our legacy television contracts under SAG-AFTRA,” said union president Ken Howard, who chaired the member negotiating committee. “We’ve made significant gains in important areas, including wage increases and improvements in streaming residual rates.”

SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White, who was the union’s chief negotiator, said, “I am pleased with the important gains we’ve achieved in this negotiation, including significant increases for background actors, stand-ins, stunt coordinators and singers.”

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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 multi-tracking and sweetening.

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

The tentative agreement will be submitted for approval to the SAG-AFTRA board at its next meeting and then, subject to the board’s approval, to the union membership for ratification.

The Netcode is also 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. 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.

The negotiating committee consisted of principal performers, background actors, promo announcers, stand-ins, singers and dancers. Contract negotiations began Nov. 3. Subject to approval and ratification, the new agreement takes effect on Sunday and runs through June 30, 2018.

11/14/2014 11:21 pm: Updated to include quotes, deal terms and additional detail

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