SAG-AFTRA Board Unanimously Approves Commercials Contracts

New agreement will now head to guild membership vote, with a May 8 deadline

Last Updated: April 14, 2019 @ 6:23 PM

The SAG-AFTRA national board has unanimously approved the new agreement on commercials contracts, which will provide new models of compensation that the union said Saturday will help promote the growth of union-covered commercial work.

The union touted the contracts as “landmark” agreements thanks to “innovative and flexible alternative compensation models,” and the inclusion of protections against workplace sexual harassment.

Under the new contracts, SAG-AFTRA members working in commercials will see increases in wages and the benefit plans, coverage of stunt coordinators, out-sized gains to group dancers, and a streamlined renegotiation process for commercial agents representing SAG-AFTRA members.

The contracts now go to the union’s membership for ratification. Members will be able to vote online, or with paper ballots beginning on April 17 with a May 8 deadline. If it passes, the new agreements will become effective retroactively April 1 and will remain in effect through March 31, 2022.

“The new commercials contracts deliver essential gains to our members while positioning performers and the industry for growth in a rapidly changing environment,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said. “We’ve introduced a bold new model that speaks to the needs of a constantly evolving workplace. This is a monumental advance in expanding our jurisdiction. I want to recognize the national negotiating committee and staff for their diligent and inspired work, and I thank the national board for approving this agreement.”

Carteris also announced the upcoming nationwide launch of residuals direct deposit and online event management.

Highlights of the contracts include:

  • New Upfront Use Packages provide performers with substantial upfront payments, creating simple and flexible structures for employers that positions SAG-AFTRA to cover more work opportunities under the contract.
  • Across-the-board wage increases of 6% (applicable to all categories of work, including background).
  • Increased funding to the health and retirement/pension plans estimated at $22.2 million.
  • Protections against sexual harassment.
  • Coverage of stunt coordinators.
  • Outsized gains to group dancers.
  • Streamlined and radically improved renegotiation process for commercial agents representing SAG-AFTRA members.

“The members of the Negotiating Committee, all of whom work under these contracts, prepared diligently to negotiate a transformative agreement that represents a real step forward for our members,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said in a statement. “This is arguably the most important negotiation in a generation. The committee developed innovative solutions to the challenges facing the advertising industry with an agreement that modernizes the Commercials Contracts, making both of them more flexible and relevant to this quickly evolving industry.”

Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.