SAG-AFTRA National Board Approves TV/Theatrical W&W Process and 2019 Commercials Contracts
The SAG-AFTRA National Board, meeting this weekend in Los Angeles at SAG-AFTRA Plaza, approved the establishment of the National TV/Theatrical Contracts Wages & Working Conditions Plenary and Negotiating Committee, and appointed President Gabrielle Carteris chair.
"I am incredibly honored to represent our members in these crucial negotiations and thank the national board for their confidence in giving me this appointment," Carteris said. "I will fight to ensure we are positioned for a successful negotiation that takes a strategic approach to enhancing our members' careers and their ability to make a meaningful living."
National Executive Director David White said, "The wages and working conditions process gives us the insight of our dynamic membership, which we need to shape our contract proposals. I want to encourage all members to participate so that we get the fullest picture possible going into these important negotiations."
As previously reported, the board also unanimously approved the landmark 2019 Commercials Contracts tentative agreement reached with the Joint Policy Committee on April 2, recommending members vote yes. The contracts now go to the union's membership for ratification.
The 2019 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract and the 2019 SAG-AFTRA Audio Commercials Contract are landmark agreements for a new era, introducing innovative and flexible alternative compensation models to promote growth of union-covered commercial work. In addition to the benefits of the new models, SAG-AFTRA members working in commercials also 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 a streamlined renegotiation process for commercial agents representing SAG-AFTRA members.
The National Board also received reports including:
President Carteris began her report by holding a moment of silence in memory of members and staff who had passed away since the previous board meeting, including her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Luke Perry (Riverdale) and SAG-AFTRA's National Director, Entertainment Contracts Dan Bowser.
Carteris discussed the recent Commercials Contracts negotiations and applauded the outpouring of support from across the membership including numerous high-profile statements of support for the #StrikeBBH "We Stand United" campaign. Carteris also noted recent actions associated with the strike, such as members picketing a Samsung commercial shoot in Los Angeles.
She also highlighted the residuals direct deposit service that will be available nationwide on May 1, and recognized Vice President, Los Angeles Clyde Kusatsu for chairing the successful It's A Laugh Productions negotiations.
And finally, Carteris updated the board on recent negotiations with Entercom, introducing a statement of support for members working at these stations who are seeking to maintain and improve their working conditions, retain job protections and negotiate changing work in increasingly digitally focused newsrooms. The board unanimously approved the statement which will now be sent to Entercom and released publicly.
National Executive Director's Report
National Executive Director David White gave brief remarks about the union's ongoing fight against deepfakes. White also discussed the new Commercials Contracts tentative agreement calling the new deal, "the purest form of collective bargaining."
White was joined by Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Daniel Inukai and Chief Communications & Marketing Officer Pamela Greenwalt who highlighted the union's innovation updates. They reviewed the upcoming nationwide launch of residuals direct deposit and online event management, which includes QR code scanning of a member's card at future SAG-AFTRA events.
White also provided an update on the pension, health and retirement plans.
The board received a finance report from Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto. Austin and Ozzanto reported that both revenue and expenses are tracking closely to budget for the third quarter.
The fiscal year 2020 budget was approved without objection.
In addition to the above reported news, the National Board heard details of the tentative agreement reached on March 15, 2019 with It's A Laugh Productions, Inc. for a successor agreement to its 2014-2017 agreement. The new three-year term was approved by acclamation.
Legal and Governance Report
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon reported on Executive Committee actions and provided an update on planning for the upcoming biennial convention, and several governance and administrative recommendations.
Government Affairs & Public Policy Report
Crabtree-Ireland and New York Local Executive Director/Chief Deputy General Counsel, Legal and Government Affairs Jeffrey Bennett updated the board on the union's ongoing effort to preserve and enhance copyright protections, including recent developments in international copyright law. They also updated the board on the effort to improve qualified performing artists deductions in the tax code, and reported on SAG-AFTRA's advocacy to maintain funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
They also updated the board on legislative efforts in New York and California that enhance members' legal protections over the digital use of their images, with a specific focus on digitally created sexually explicit material, and detailed some of the benefits artists receive from the Music Modernization Act, which was passed into law last October.
The meeting concluded at 2:27 p.m. PDT, Sunday, April 14.