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SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify 2019 Commercials Contracts

Members of SAG-AFTRA today overwhelmingly voted to ratify the 2019 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract and the 2019 SAG-AFTRA Audio Commercials Contract. The vote was 96.85 percent in favor. The contracts are landmark agreements for a new era, introducing innovative and flexible alternative compensation models to promote growth of union-covered commercial work. The vote follows the National Board’s unanimous approval of the tentative agreements.

The ratification vote — via online voting and through requested paper ballots — follows the SAG-AFTRA National Board’s recommendation in April for members to vote yes on the new three-year contract with the Joint Policy Committee. Negotiations began on Feb. 20 and concluded with a tentative agreement on April 2. Postcards were mailed to approximately 136,000 members. The new agreements will become effective April 1, 2019, and will remain in force through March 31, 2022. The new contracts will include increases in minimum rates retroactive to April 1, 2019, and payable within 30 days of ratification. The new Upfront Use Packages will be available on June 1, 2019.

“This is an historic moment for our members, our union and this industry. Committed members from around the country created new contract options for an evolving commercial landscape. Our strength is always in our unity,” said SAG-AFTRA President and Negotiating Committee Chair Gabrielle Carteris. 

Added SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White, “Members will see across-the-board wage increases for all categories of work, increases to the benefit plans, coverage of stunt coordinators, outsized gains to group dancers, protections against workplace sexual harassment and streamlined processes for commercial agents representing SAG-AFTRA members. I applaud President Carteris, our terrific member negotiating committee and our superb staff for securing these breakthrough achievements.” 

Highlights of the contracts include:

  • New Upfront Use Packages provide performers with substantial upfront payments, creating simple and flexible structures for employers. It positions SAG-AFTRA to cover more work opportunities under the contract.
  • Across-the-board wage increases of 6 percent (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.

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.

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