SAG-AFTRA Board Approves TV/Theatrical Deal

Shane Gritzinger/Getty Images

The agreement now goes to the members for expected ratification.

The SAG-AFTRA national board of directors on Saturday approved the tentative agreement TV/theatrical deal reached July 4 at sunrise with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the union announced late Saturday night. The deal will now go to the membership for ratification, which is expected.

The board decision was not without some dissent, however: The vote was 77.4 percent to 22.5 percent. About 150 stunt workers on Saturday morning rallied against the deal at SAG-AFTRA headquarters, although details of the deal had not yet been released, and still have not.

The union said it secured “significant improvements” in streaming video residuals, with a new formula that delivers a 300 percent increase in residuals to performers within their first two years when their work is exhibited worldwide on Netflix.

Background actors achieved gains as well, the union said, including superior overtime rules for background actors working in the West Coast zones, a higher minimum for photo doubles, a pay increase for work on shows for The CW as a result of applying the background schedules from the television contract and a new standard voucher form that will minimize the need for background actors to supply Social Security numbers.

SAG-AFTRA also achieved what it called “a historic breakthrough” in the rules governing travel for television performers, including an up to five-fold increase in the fees due to series performers who work at locations away from home. The travel rules for television were also rationalized and clarified, said the union, closing many loopholes and ambiguities that have allowed for abuse.

Voting on the TV/Theatrical agreements will be conducted online, with paper ballots available on request. Members who are eligible to vote will receive a ballot information postcard that will be mailed on or about Monday. The voting deadline is Aug. 7 and ballots will be tabulated the same day. In the meantime, informational meetings will be scheduled across the country to discuss the agreement and information will be posted online.

The current contracts remain in effect during the ratification process, the union said. The term of the new agreement is for three years effective July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020, and is retroactive upon ratification.

“I am thankful to the board for its approval and recommendation of this agreement, and am delighted at what the negotiating team was able to achieve," said SAG-AFTRA president and negotiating committee chair Gabrielle Carteris. "We have negotiated a forward-looking package with meaningful gains across our entire membership. … Together, we have achieved a comprehensive, modern agreement that lays the foundation for success for years to come.”

Said David White, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator: “This was a particularly challenging negotiation and I am grateful to our Negotiating Committee and staff for their incredible determination and work. Several critical concerns related to travel pay and option periods were addressed, residuals for streaming new media were dramatically improved, we strengthened our benefit plans, and made historic gains for our background community.”

Formal negotiations between the 26-member SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Wednesday, May 31, in Los Angeles and concluded at 6 a.m. on July 4. The talks were preceded by several weeks of informal talks and, before that, the union’s Wages and Working Conditions processed gathering member opinions.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, the deal terms include:

* Basic Wages. Annual increase of 2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent. These are the same as the nominal increases achieved by the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America, although those unions had to agree to a variety of carveouts that SAG-AFTRA did not.

* Pension Plan. 0.5 percent wage diversion in first year to help shore up plan, with possible diversions in years 2 and 3.

* Streaming Video Residuals. Essentially the same SVOD enhancements as the DGA and WGA. (Probably also true of ad-supported VOD as well.)

* Travel Fees. Improvements achieved.

* Holds and Exclusivity. Improvements achieved.

* Money Breaks. Increased the money breaks at which various contract provisions kick in.

* Stunt Coordinators. Raises achieved.

* Background Actors (Extras). Raises and overtime achieved.

* Rollbacks. No rollbacks.