SAG-AFTRA, Advertisers Will Open Contract Talks on Feb. 14

Talks on TV commercials contract will be the first test of newly merged SAG-AFTRA's bargaining strength

SAG-AFTRA and advertisers will open negotiations on a new TV commercials contract on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in New York, the union announced Tuesday. 

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

Also read: Contract Time Is Coming: Now, What About That Combined SAG-AFTRA Clout?.

The current contract, which covers about $1 billion in annual work, expires March 31. The two sides are working under a one-year extension of the three-year deal reached in 2009. 

Wages and working conditions will be the key issues. The two sides had planned to wrestle with a proposed revamp in the way commercials residuals are calculated but in November decided to take that off the table until more data has been accumulated.