SAG-AFTRA Strikes Deal for New Broadcast TV Contract

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Gabrielle Carteris

The tentative agreement, which will run through 2021, includes new language limiting auditions or meetings in private hotel rooms.

SAG-AFTRA on Saturday announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with the four major television broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — and other producers for a new contract, a successor agreement to the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, which covers most television programming other than network primetime and other than similar marquee scripted content on basic cable, premium cable and streaming services.

“This deal delivers overall gains in important areas, including meaningful increases in wages and residuals rates that will put real money in members’ pockets. Additionally, the agreement now reflects important new language limiting auditions or meetings in private hotel rooms and residences, which represents a partial realization of our work toward industry culture change,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement.

The new contract will run from July 1 through June 30, 2021.

According to the actors’ union, highlights of the agreement include increases in contract minimums over a three-year period, including an 8.7 percent overall wage increase to most program fees, implemented through increases of 2.5 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year. The agreement also improves funding of the AFTRA Retirement Fund. 

It also includes automatic increases in other categories like daytime serial performers, background actors, certain group dancers and stand-ins and dance-ins.

The agreement also includes improvements to harassment-prevention language explicitly prohibiting harassment and improvements in the working hours language for minors, SAG-AFTRA said.

The contract with the TV networks generates more than $200 million a year in covered member earnings and covers programming in nearly all television dayparts as well as programming produced for digital media. Covered programs include dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports and promotional announcements. Current programs covered by this contract include Good Morning America, Ellen, The Young and the Restless, Jeopardy, Saturday Night Live, The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, The Inspectors, The Late Late Show With James Corden, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl, to name a few.

The tentative agreement will be submitted for approval to the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its July 21 meeting. Subject to the board’s approval, the agreement will then be sent to the union’s membership for ratification.

Negotiations with the signatory producers began on May 30 in Sherman Oaks, California, and concluded with a tentative agreement at approximately 1:55 a.m. on Saturday.

"The members were well served by their leaders in this negotiation," said SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White. "Their outstanding work resulted in significant gains across a wide range of categories, including dancers, singers, promo announcers, stand-ins, stunt coordinators and background actors. President Carteris and the member negotiating committee did a terrific job to bring this package of improvements to our members and I applaud their efforts. I want to give particular recognition to Chief Contracts Officer and lead negotiator Ray Rodriguez and to our entire staff team for their many contributions toward securing the achievements in this contract."