Ad industry, SAG-AFTRA tentatively agree on contract

The advertising industry and SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement Sunday for a new television and radio contract — likely worth more than $1 billion per year in billings — after seven weeks of negotiation.

Terms of the new agreement struck by the union and the ANA-4As Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations (JPC) were not revealed but is contract is one of the union’s largest and is rivaled only by the TV/theatrical contract.

Said Douglas J. Wood, lead negotiator for JPC, “Despite very complex issues that initially had significant differences for both sides of the table, through open and honest collaboration we reached a balanced and fair agreement for all parties.”

Tensions had been building between the union and the industry in the past year as demand for digital content has been skyrocketing, reported Ad Age.

The issue is complicated, in part, because the contract’s definition of what constitutes and online commercial and how videos are classified is murky. Agencies have said their digital budgets are low to start with and they need to cut corners and bypass union talent.

Another issue mentioned is that some agencies, particularly in New York, do not feel obliged to hire union talent.

“As content evolves, we are poised to grow work opportunities that support members and their families,” said union acting president/negotiating committee co-chair Gabrielle Carteris.

A long-time executive serving both unions before the 2012 merger, Carteris stepped up from union EVP to acting president following the recent death of Ken Howard, the first time a president SAG, AFTRA or SAG AFTRA has died in office.

The 4As’ Kathleen Quinn, a member of the JPC negotiating team for the past 20 years, also died during the negotiations.

The tentative agreement will be submitted for approval by the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors at its April 9-10 meeting. Upon board approval, the package will be send to the membership for ratification.

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