SAG-AFTRA National Board Approves Recommendations for Network Code Negotiations

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SAG-AFTRA National Board Approves Recommendations for Network Code Negotiations

This weekend, the SAG-AFTRA National Board unanimously approved proposals for the upcoming Network Code negotiations during a two-day plenary at SAG-AFTRA Plaza in Los Angeles. The current contract, formally known as the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, expires June 30, 2018.

The Network Code covers syndicated and non-primetime dramatic programs, daytime serials, promotional announcements, variety, quiz, game, reality, talk, news and sports, and other non-dramatic programs. The proposal package is confidential and will not be released.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris will chair the contract negotiations and SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White will serve as the union’s chief negotiator. 

The approval of the package follows the meeting of the SAG-AFTRA National Network Code Wages & Working (W&W) Conditions Committee of 12 voting members and 10 alternates that will also serve as the negotiating committee. The committee approved the proposal negotiation package for presentation to the National Board. Carteris served as the national chair for the W&W committee.  

The Network Code W&W process began in March and gave members the opportunity to discuss the contracts and suggest potential provisions. W&W serves as a vital tool for members to determine priorities when negotiating.

Negotiations with the networks are scheduled to commence on May 30, 2018. 

President Carteris began the plenary with an in memoriam for SAG-AFTRA members who passed since the last National Board meeting. 

Carteris updated the board on the overwhelmingly positive response to the union’s Four Pillars of Change initiative and Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment released in February, and Guideline No. 1 announced earlier this month to end holding professional meetings in private hotel rooms or residences.

“This guideline is only the first in what will be a set of best practices that provide a shared understanding for the industry,” Carteris said. “These efforts are important steps in a broader initiative to combat sexual harassment and achieve workplace equity, and the true systemic change we must have.” 

The board then received a report from White on the state of the industry and new technology. “The media industry is transforming at a rapid pace,” said White. “One of the most important things we can do as a union is be nimble and have a willingness to change and adapt with courage.”

The National Board received additional reports, including:

Finance Report

Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto reported that both revenue and expenses are tracking according to plan for the third quarter, and presented the fiscal year 2019 budget. It was unanimously approved.

Contracts Report

In addition to a presentation of the Network Code proposals referenced above by Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, the board also appointed members to the National Commercials Wages & Working Conditions (W&W) Plenary Committee, chaired by President Carteris. The committee is charged with developing a recommended set of proposals for the 2019 Commercials Negotiations based on priorities determined by member input.

Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland provided an update on the year-long Telemundo negotiations, which Crabtree-Ireland serves as chief negotiator. The negotiating team is working to negotiate the first collective bargaining agreement with Telemundo with the goal of establishing basic union protections and benefits, such as residuals, health insurance, retirement and fair wages.   

Legal and Governance Report

Executive Vice President and Government Review Committee Chair Rebecca Damon and Crabtree-Ireland reported on Executive Committee actions and provided an update on several governance and administrative recommendations, including local constitutional amendments and other matters.

Damon reported on increased member participation on SAG-AFTRA committees and overall engagement nationwide.

Pension & Health Report

Michael Estrada, CEO of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and SAG-Producers Pension Plan, provided an update on the health and pension plans.  

The meeting adjourned at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 22, 2018.