SAG-AFTRA, Advertisers Reach Tentative Commercials Deal

The deal covers $1 billion  in TV and radio ad work and now goes to the union's national board and then, if approved, to the members for ratification

SAG-AFTRA and advertising industry representatives announced early Saturday a tentative agreement on a new TV and radio commercials contract.

No details of the package were released, but going into the talks, wages and working conditions were seen as the key issues and three-year deals have been the norm. The two sides had planned to wrestle with a proposed revamp in the way commercials residuals are calculated, but in November took that off the table until more data has been accumulated.

The tentative agreements will be submitted to the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors for approval at its April 20-21 meeting. If approved, the package will be sent to the membership for ratification.

The talks with the Association of National Advertisers were the first negotiations for the newly merged Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which combined forces in March.

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Formal negotiations between the union and the advertisers' Joint Policy Committee began February 14 and concluded April 6, at 1:49 a.m. EDT, in New York, according to the guild. The two sides agreed to temporarily extend the current contract, which was agreed upon in 2009 and covers about $1 billion in annual work, just prior to its March 31 expiration.

“We worked together with the JPC to achieve a deal that responds to the needs of SAG-AFTRA members and delivers real improvements for working performers. We look forward to presenting the package to the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors for approval at its meeting later this month,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White.

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SAG-AFTRA was represented by National Co-President and Negotiating Committee National Chair Roberta Reardon, White, Negotiating Committee Vice Chairs Sue-Anne Morrow,  Allen Lulu, Ilyssa Fradin, and David Hartley Margolin, Co-Lead Negotiators Ray Rodriguez and Mathis Dunn, and Senior Advisor John McGuire.

“We've made essential gains for SAG-AFTRA members and I couldn't be more pleased. These contracts provide our members with the solid foundation they need to sustain their careers and families,” said Reardon.

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SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals.

The JPC was represented by lead negotiator Douglas Wood, David Weissman with Reed Smith, Linda Bennett with Saatchi & Saatchi, Kim Stevens with Arnold Worldwide and Kathleen Quinn.

“These negotiations have been a positive and productive continuation of our longtime partnership with commercial performers and their representatives, said the advertisers' Wood.

Things haven't always gone so smoothy. The ad contract reached in 2000 came only after SAG went on strike for nearly six months. In the walkout's wake, several high-profile members — including Tiger Woods and Elizabeth Hurley — were fined $100,000 each for performing in non-union commercial.