SAG-AFTRA Members Approve Network Code

SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (Network Television Code). The vote was 96.5% in favor.

The three-year agreement was struck Nov. 14 and runs until June 30, 2018. The new contract unifies the legacy TV contracts with the merged union. The board recommended last month the members approve it (93% voting in favor).

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

"I congratulate our members on ratifying this excellent agreement. Our members will benefit from increased wages and overtime rates, expanded residuals and stronger protections,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard in a statement. Howard chaired the code negotiating Committee. “No matter the platform or type of work, SAG-AFTRA members working under this contract can be proud of the solid gains we achieved.”

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

—Increased video streaming residual rates "consistent with industry patterns"

—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.

—A .5% boost in health and retirement funds

—Contract coverage for more stunt performers

—Increases in overtime, rehearsal, and stand-in pay rates

—A new premium payment for singers on multitracking and "sweetening"

—Better warm-up spaces for dancers

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.