SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Commercials Deal

SAG/AFTRA building - H 2016
Amy Kaplan

The new agreement will soon go to the members for ratification.

The SAG-AFTRA national board approved the recently negotiated commercials agreement, the union announced Sunday, and the new contract will soon be sent to the organization’s membership for approval, probably in a week to 10 days. No details of the deal were released.

The contract — likely worth over a billion dollars per year in earnings, although exact figures are not available — is one of the union’s largest, and is rivaled only by the TV/theatrical contract. SAG-AFTRA and the bargaining unit representing advertisers and advertising agencies reached agreement on the deal on April 3 after several weeks of negotiation.

“This contract speaks to the livelihood of members today — and in the future,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting the agreement to the membership for ratification.”

David White, the union’s national executive director, served as its lead negotiator, while Carteris and New York-based board member Sue Ann Morrow co-chaired the organization’s negotiating committee. Other union representatives included co-lead negotiators Ray Rodriguez and Mathis Dunn and senior advisor John McGuire. On the management side, Douglas J. Wood was lead negotiator for the ANA-4A’s Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations.

“I congratulate the board on the approval of this agreement,” said White. “Our negotiating committee, led by President Carteris and Co-Chair Sue-Anne Morrow, faced very tough issues and, working together, secured an excellent and forward-looking deal for our membership.”

The meeting also included remembrances of two of the union’s leaders who died last month, then-current SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard and former SAG president Anna Patty Duke Pearce. The board also voted by acclamation to rename the Membership Services Center in the Los Angeles national headquarters and the Board Room in the New York office in Howard’s honor.

In other business, White detailed for the board what the union described as “the continued progress towards merging the legacy P&H and H&R plans,” i.e., the still-separate SAG pension & health plan and AFTRA health & retirement plan. The union provided no details, however. As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, an AFTRA plan trustee recently said he expected merger of the two health plans to occur by January 2017.

In addition, SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer Jane Austin and chief financial officer Arianna Ozzanto presented the fiscal year 2017 projected budget, indicating that it is expected to yield what the union said was “a larger surplus compared to FY16 budget due to increased revenue.”

Carteris was elected president by the union’s board on Saturday, after serving as acting president since Howard’s death on March 23. The union will be streaming a celebration of Howard’s life on Monday starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT at