SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Commercials Contracts Deals and Strategic Operations Restructuring

SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Commercials Contracts Deals and Strategic Operations Restructuring
Filed in: Contracts

LOS ANGELES (April 21, 2013) – The SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors met in Los Angeles April 20 and 21 and took action on several items including approval of the recently negotiated commercials agreements, an operational restructuring plan, and multiple governance and administrative matters.

The National Board unanimously approved the deal reached with the ad industry Apr. 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. Formal negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry began on Feb. 14 and concluded April 6.

Summaries of the 2013 agreement provisions for the commercials contracts may be viewed at:

Summary of New Provisions 2013 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract

Summary of New Provisions 2013 SAG-AFTRA Radio Recorded Commercials Contract

“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 longstanding concerns and bring the agreement up to date in a variety of areas.”

"I congratulate Roberta and our entire negotiating committee on a great outcome and particularly want to recognize the work of our chief negotiator David White. The commercials agreements represent important work for tens of thousands of our members across the country and we have served them well in this deal," said Ken Howard, National Co-President.

SAG-AFTRA was represented in the commercials negotiations by Reardon, White, Negotiating Committee Vice Chairs Sue-Anne Morrow, Allen Lulu, Ilyssa Fradin, and David Hartley-Margolin, Co-Lead Negotiators Ray Rodriguez and Mathis Dunn, and Senior Advisor John McGuire.

In connection with the first national contract referendum for SAG-AFTRA, the board approved a motion offering members the opportunity to vote online, as well as by traditional paper ballots if they prefer, to ratify the commercials agreements.

“Online voting will make more efficient use of our financial resources, advance our efforts to be more environmentally conscious by reducing paper use, and offer members the choice of a voting process that’s most convenient for them. We expect this program to encourage member engagement and to enhance voter turnout in the referendum,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel.

All members in good standing as of April 1, 2013, will automatically receive a postcard with voting instructions. The postcard will be mailed on or about May 1, 2013. Tabulation of ratification votes received by the voting deadline of May 31, 2013, 5 p.m. PDT (electronically or by mail) will be completed that day.

In other action, the board approved a fiscal year 2014 budget that will lead to a strategic restructuring of the union’s operations. The plan corrects a roughly $6 million structural deficit between revenue and expenses relating to pre-merger legacy costs of the prior organizations.

The restructuring process calls for the consolidation and closure of 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.

The moves are designed to position the union for strength and growth in major media markets and emerging production areas, and to ensure that institutional resources are focused on core operational functions and improved member services.

“This weekend, our leadership made several critical decisions confirming a strategic path that refocuses this organization on core principles.  We have addressed a structural deficit that relates to legacy costs and positions the union for long-term health and power. These moves ensure that we can adapt to the evolving industries in which our members earn a living, and are better able to protect them wherever they work around the world,” White said.

Howard said: “Restructuring is a necessary step to ensure sound operating principles, fiscal resiliency, long-term sustainability and the realization of our mission to provide strong representation and efficient and effective member services far into the future.”

“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 across the country, 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. The geographic restructuring process will take place over the next several months. 

The plan calls for the creation of a member review committee that will work with the professional staff to review the impact of the transition and report back to the Board in April 2014.

White says that office closures will not mean reduced core services or scaled-back representation in the long-term. 

“We have to think differently about how we move forward in the world to support over 165,000 professionals who work in front of a camera or behind a microphone around the globe,” he added.

The Board received a report on the progress of reciprocity and/or merger of the SAG-Producers Pension & Health Plans and the AFTRA Health & Retirement Plans. The trustees of both organizations, which are separate from the union, have established working committees to look at the issue of reciprocity and, ultimately merger between the plans. Discussions are progressing between the two organizations.

The Board reviewed the union’s candidate elections policy and schedule for the 2013 national elections calendar (all times PDT): The election calendar in locals varies slightly.

May 15                                Nominating petitions available.

June 14 (5 p.m.)                 Deadline for submission of petitions and any other required materials.

June 17                               Cutoff for voting eligibility. Members must be in good standing for the 11/01/12 and/or 05/01/13 dues period.

July 16                                Ballots mailed.

August 15 (6:30 a.m.)        Deadline for receipt of voted ballot (in designated election PO Box).

September 26-29               Convention Elections.

The national board met April 20 and 21 in Los Angeles. The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.