SAG-AFTRA, Big Four Nets Reach Tentative Deal On Code

SAG-AFTRA says it has reached a tentative agreement with the Big Four broadcast networks and other program producers on a new contract under the National Code of Fair Practice that includes increased streaming residuals for performers.

The new contract unifies the legacy TV contracts with the merged union. It must now be submitted to the SAG-AFTRA National Board and then to the members for a ratification vote, which is expected to be successful.

The code covers all TV programming except scripted primetime, which includes first-run syndicated dramas, morning news, talk shows, soaps, reality, contest, sports and promos, that generates some $200 million annually in earnings for SAG-AFTRA members.

The contract runs from Nov. 16, 2014 to June 30, 2018.

Among the highlights, according to SAG-AFTRA, are:

1. Increased video streaming residual rates "consistent with industry patterns"

2. An 8.7% increase in program fee wages over three years and automatic increases in other categories including 7.2% for soap performers and a 6.1% wage increase for network news.

3. A .5% boost in health and retirement funds.

4. Contract coverage for more stunt performers

5. Increases in overtime, rehearsal, and stand-in pay rates

6. A new premium payment for singers on multitracking and "sweetening"

7. Better warm-up spaces for dancers.

"We’ve made significant gains in important areas, including wage increases and improvements in streaming residual rates," said SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard.

Howard thanked executive VP Gabrielle Carteris, New York president Mike Hodge and national executive director and chief negotiator David White for their help in striking the new agreement.

White, in turn, thanked Howard and all the members of the committee negotiating the new contract.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.