The SAG-AFTRA national board of directors approved the recently negotiated commercials contract agreements at a meeting in Los Angeles this weekend. The contract will now go to the membership for a vote. The board also agreed to an operational restructuring plan that will see 10 regional union offices close, and some 60 staff layoffs.
The national board unanimously approved the deal reached with the ad industry April 7 on new television and radio commercials contracts. The contracts will result in $238 million in wage increases and other payments for all categories of performers, improvements in cable use fees, increases in payments for work on the Internet and new media platforms, and an increase in the late payment fee.
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry began on Feb. 14 and concluded April 6.
“This is a great deal for SAG-AFTRA members. We made important gains on these contracts that provide our members with the solid foundation they need to sustain their careers and families,” said national co-president and commercials negotiating committee national chair Roberta Reardon. “I am very grateful to our negotiating committee which came together and worked as one to ensure a strong contract for their sisters and brothers who work in the commercials area.”
“This agreement demonstrates the incredible work of our negotiating committee and the value to our members of the collaborative relationship we’ve developed with the negotiators on the joint policy committee,” said David White, national executive director and chief negotiator. “We achieved solid improvements for our members and both sides agreed to major adjustments in the contract that address long standing concerns and bring the agreement up to date in a variety of areas.”
The SAG-AFTRA board also approved a motion that will allow members to vote on the contract online, or by traditional paper ballots if they prefer. Members have until May 31 to cast their ballots.
In addition, the board approved a budget for 2014 that will lead to a strategic restructuring of the union’s operations. The plan will cut a $6 million deficit by consolidating and closing 10 of the union’s 25 offices nationwide, and will reduce staff by about 60 positions across the country. The staff reductions will begin in early May.
“This is a difficult undertaking and we are obligated to be wise stewards of the members’ resources while remaining laser-focused on our core union mission,” said Reardon. “We are a national union committed to excellent service in vibrant markets across the country. That won’t change.”
SAG-AFTRA will refocus its geographic footprint to maintain brick-and-mortar offices in 15 markets, including eight major markets and seven broadcast/emerging markets that together represent over 93 percent of the union’s membership. The eight major markets are Los Angeles, New York, Washington-Mid Atlantic, Chicago, San Francisco, New England, Philadelphia and Miami. The seven broadcast/emerging markets are Dallas-Ft. Worth, Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Hawaii, Ohio-Pittsburgh and Missouri Valley.