Actors unions and ad industry agree to a two-year extension of current commercials contract

Meeting as a Joint Board, directors of SAG and AFTRA on Aug. 26 overwhelmingly approved a two-year extension to the commercials contracts with the advertising industry by an almost 95% margin.

AFTRA and SAG members will now vote on final ratification of the extension. Referendum ballots are scheduled to be mailed Sept. 5 and due back September 26.

The extension runs through Oct. 28, 2008; the current contract expires Oct. 29, 2006.

The new accord that establishes jurisdiction over commercials appearing on all new media platforms “provides SAG members with an expected $45 million in additional annual compensation,” said SAG national president Alan Rosenberg.

AFTRA national president John P. Connolly stated the agreement will increase job opportunities for professional performers in every corner of traditional and new media.

“Building a lifetime career, with good jobs and good wages and benefits, is the name of the game,” he said.

The extension agreement was reached through a series of meetings between representatives of the ANA/AAAA’s Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations (JPC) and a joint committee of SAG and AFTRA members who actively perform in commercials.

The agreement addresses future media, compensation

  • Commissions a yet-to-be-hired consultant to conduct a joint study to examine alternative compensation methods to performers appearing in commercials shown on television, radio, and the growing array of new media.
  • Acknowledges recognition by the advertising industry of SAG/AFTRA’s jurisdiction over all commercials in TV, radio and the Internet and also new media platforms that exist now or in the future.
  • Gives performers a 6% increases and raises employer contribution to union health and pension plans from 14.3% to 14.8%.
  • Provides advertisers with increased flexibility to edit commercials for the Internet and new media through additional payments to performers that are bargained freely without a specific minimum payment.
  • Forms a New Media Committee, comprised of representatives from both unions and the industry, that will be empowered, if the unions agree, to make adjustments to the agreement to accommodate changing technologies and shifting paradigms within the commercials industry
  • Grants advertisers a one-year waiver that will allow advertisers to experiment with a shorter cycle of use in the new media and Internet areas.

The Joint Board also approved a waiver to the current commercials contracts that allows the immediate application of the Internet and new media provisions of the extension. The waiver will terminate if union memberships do not ratify the extension.

The agreement to extend the commercials contracts was reached over a series of meetings with representatives of the advertising industry and a joint committee of SAG and AFTRA members who actively perform in commercials.

A majority of the members voting must support the agreement for the two-year extension to be ratified.