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SAG-AFTRA Ratifies New Contract for TV Code

Actors’ union accepts agreement on 96.5 percent favorable vote

Members of SAG-AFTRA voted 96.5 percent in favor of ratifying the 2014 SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (Network Television Code) on Friday.

“I congratulate our members on ratifying this excellent agreement. Our members will benefit from increased wages and overtime rates, expanded residuals and stronger protections,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard, who served as chair of the Network Television Code Negotiating Committee. “No matter the platform or type of work, SAG-AFTRA members working under this contract can be proud of the solid gains we achieved.”

Voting fell in line with the SAG-AFTRA National Board’s December recommendation for members to vote yes on the new three-year contract with the four major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). Negotiations with the signatory producers began on Nov. 3 in Sherman Oaks, California. Ballots were mailed to approximately 132,000 members, and ratification votes were cast via online voting and through requested paper ballots. The contract term runs Nov. 16, 2014, to June 30, 2018.

Details of the new contract 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;

• Increases in other categories as follows:
– A 7.2-percent overall wage increase for serial (soap opera) performers, implemented through increases of 2 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third year;
– A 6.1-percent increase in overall wages for news inserts/news service fees, implemented through increases of 2 percent the first year, 2 percent the second year and 2 percent the third year;
–  An increase in contributions to the AFTRA Retirement Fund of .5 percent, starting in year one;
– A 36-percent increase to background rehearsal rates in year two, from $11 per hour to $15 per hour, and a 12-percent increase for principal rehearsal rates in year two from $25 per hour to $28 per hour;
– Increases in the overtime rate from $37.50 per hour to $42 per hour for principals and $16.50 per hour to $22.50 per hour for background actors;
– An 8-percent increase in the stand-in rate for non-dramatic programming, increasing from $24 per hour to $25 per hour in year one, and from $25 per hour to $26 per hour in year three;
– Increases in the streaming residuals rate and a reduction in streaming windows, consistent with the industry pattern;
– For the first time, achieved a premium payment for solo/duo singers for multitracking and sweetening;

•  Expands the ability for stunt coordinators to work under this contract;
• Agreement that a bulletin will be issued to producers of content under this agreement to help ensure adequate warm-up space for dancers;
• Language to help facilitate the merger of the SAG and AFTRA benefit plans.