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SAG-AFTRA Members Vote to Approve 2017 TV/Theatrical Contracts

In national voting completed today, members of SAG-AFTRA voted overwhelmingly to approve the 2017 TV/Theatrical Contracts. Members approved new, three-year contracts covering theatrical, primetime, and basic cable television production under the 2017 SAG-AFTRA Codified Basic Agreement and the 2017 SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement by a vote of 75.79 percent to 24.21 percent.

At $256 million, the agreement is valued at nearly 30 percent more than the $200 million 2014 TV/Theatrical deal, and the union secured significant improvements in the residuals rate paid to performers for exhibition of their performances on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

SAG-AFTRA President and Negotiating Committee Chair Gabrielle Carteris said, “With these new provisions, members will be compensated for global use of their work on streaming new media platforms - such as Netflix and Amazon - in addition to seeing significant gains in streaming media residuals. These gains speak not just to today, but to our future by establishing important new guidelines on travel and options as well as providing meaningful gains for the background community. I thank the many members who had input throughout this process. The gains in this contract reflect their hard work and their voices in negotiations. I am also very grateful to my fellow negotiating committee members, to National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White and to the dedicated SAG-AFTRA staff who worked to ensure our new contract builds for the next generation of television and theatrical production.”

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said, “I thank the members for their participation in the process and commend their vote to approve the agreement. This new contract sets an important standard for our members today and tomorrow. For more than two years, our member negotiating committee and staff team worked tirelessly to develop necessary proposals that would secure members’ financial improvements while updating archaic and unclear portions of the agreement. With that package in hand, we bargained significant gains for members across the board in addition to outsized enhancements for background actors and television series performers. We also secured crucial improvements in streaming media residuals paid to our members working in programs made for streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. I am grateful to the member negotiating committee and the exemplary staff team headed by Chief Contracts Officer and Lead Negotiator Ray Rodriguez for their dedication and hard work.”

Other key gains include:

  • A guaranteed raise of 2.5 - 3 percent for each year of the contracts and increased pension and retirement contributions.
  • Residuals improvements of more than 300 percent for content streaming on new media like Netflix and Amazon. Residuals are due sooner, down to 90 days from one year. Plus, there’s a new foreign residual for when work is shown on affiliated platforms abroad.
  • Double overtime for background actors: The 11th and 12th hours of the day will be paid at double time instead of time and a half for West Coast work.
  • Additional increases for background performers include a boost to the photo double rate — an upfront increase of nearly 17 percent — and a large upfront increase — 18 percent — for programs made for The CW, as well as a new, standard voucher to protect against identity theft.
  • Improved provisions for travel for TV performers, including setting minimums that significantly increase relocation allowances.
  • Guaranteed airfare to performers traveling for work taking place in Los Angeles.
  • A reduction of the number of “idle days” that may be negotiated from three to two and increase of pay for those idle days from $75 to $100.
  • Safe travel commitment from management to provide either transportation or lodging for performers who do not believe they can drive themselves safely due to exhaustion or inclement weather. 

Informational voting cards were mailed to approximately 140,000 members of SAG-AFTRA, of which 15.33 percent voted. The final vote was certified by Integrity Voting Systems, an impartial election service based in Everett, Washington.

The agreement becomes effective retroactive to July 1, 2017 and expires June 30, 2020.

Formal negotiations between the 26-member SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Wednesday, May 31, in Los Angeles and concluded at 6 a.m. on July 4, 2017. The SAG-AFTRA National Board overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement at its July 15 meeting.