1,100 local actors gain from new SAG AFTRA contract

The new three-year master contract between SAG AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) covering movie and primetime TV work “is very beneficial to our members,” says Eric Chauldron, executive director of SAG AFTRA Chicago/Midwest.

The new contract  provides for a 2.5% wage gain in the first year; 3% annual wage increases in the next two years; a 0.5% increase in pension fund contributions and higher payments for ad-supported online streaming.
Just as important, said Ken Howard, president of the 165,000 union, was “the establishment of an industry-wide cable agreement we’ve wanted for two decades.
“Theatricals and TV shows are the biggest portion of our work in Chicago,” Chauldron says, pointing out that out SAG AFTRA members filled a total of 1,100 roles among the six TV network shows that shot here last year.
NBC Universal’s “Chicago Fire” had hired 450 day players and “Chicago PD,” 200, numbers that Chauldron anticipates will remain approximately the same for the upcoming new season.
Fox’ “Empire,” directed by Lee Daniels (“The Butler”) and USA’s “Sirens” have not revealed their complete casting plans yet, but Chauldron expects the number of their roles to be comparable to the 120 roles for “Betrayal” and the 100 roles for “Mind Games” and 120 for “Betrayal” whose low ratings didn’t justify renewals.
Benefiting actors in the Wachowskis first TV series, “Sense8” for Netflix are improved contract terms and conditions and full television rate minimums for productions made for subscription video on demand services such as Netflix, Hulu.
Last year, also, more than 200 short films and 100 low-budget features shot here under SAG AFTRA’s Low Budget contracts, Chauldron adds.
The new union contract replaces the separate SAG and AFTRA contracts which have remained in effect since the 2012 merger.