SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors Meets via Video Conference
Board Approves First-Ever Industry-Wide Music Video Agreement and Sets Commercials W&W Schedule
Los Angeles and New York (July 21, 2012) – The National Board of Directors of SAG-AFTRA met today via videoconference in the first day of a regularly scheduled two-day plenary.
The national board unanimously approved the first industry-wide music video agreement negotiated with representatives of the major record labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co. and most of their subsidiary labels.
Assistant National Executive Director of Sound Recordings, Randall Himes, joined by National Director of Sound Recordings Stephanie Taub; Western Region Organizing Director, Steve Sidawi; music video negotiating committee members SAG-AFTRA National Board member and dancer Sharon Ferguson (worked with music video artists including Prince and No Doubt); and dancers Aimee Winston (Kylie Minogue), Ava Bernstine (Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears), Danielle Towne, (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas), and Cassidy Noblett (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry), presented the board with the tentative agreement representing the first-ever industry-wide contract with the major record labels covering dancers and other performers on music videos.
Ferguson said, “I am just bowled over by the board’s unanimous vote. This agreement was reached after a long and hard-fought effort. It delivers good terms for dancers and other performers who work in music videos and so much more. It’s a historic agreement, but that doesn’t really do justice to how proud we are to achieve a contract that sets the first industry-wide standard for wages and working conditions in music video production. That’s huge!”
Himes said, “This is a great first agreement for our union and I’m honored to have led the negotiating team. I thank the board for their unanimous vote of approval and want to highlight the great work of our member negotiating committee, outside counsel Susan Davis of Cohen Weiss and Simon LLP, and most of all, the dancers and all performers who work in music videos – this is without question their victory.”
The contract officially takes effect on Monday, July 23, 2012.
The National Board also unanimously approved an agreement with the Joint Policy Committee, which bargains the Commercials Contracts on behalf of employers, to pursue a “Clearinghouse Project” designed to address some of the data challenges encountered during the Gross Ratings Point (“GRP”) Pilot Project conducted pursuant to the 2009 Commercials Contracts. This agreement results in the mutually agreed upon cancellation of an October early bargaining period regarding GRP that the parties had agreed to during the 2009 negotiations.
In light of the additional preparation time made available by the cancellation of early bargaining, the National Board approved a revised schedule for the Commercials Contracts wages and working conditions process. The process will begin with educational meetings to be held in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago beginning August 7th. Formal W&W meetings will be scheduled to begin after September 10th. The start date of formal negotiations for successor agreements to the 2009 Commercials Contracts has not yet been set.
The National Board also unanimously approved terminating the legacy SAG Interactive Media Agreement via 60-day notice to producers who had been using the expired contract. Those producers will be invited to transition to the active legacy AFTRA agreement.
SAG-AFTRA Co-Presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon called the meeting to order in honor of SAG-AFTRA members who have passed away since the last meeting followed by a special moment of silence for the victims of the attack in Aurora, Colo.
Reardon and Howard said, “We are shocked and shaken by this tragedy and send our thoughts and prayers to the loved ones of those who lost their lives or were injured. Theaters are the heart and soul of our art. It’s where people who love movies gather to share our stories, and in some undefined but meaningful way, spend time with us. That is a strong bond and we honor it.”
The board received several reports including:
SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon addressed the directors and recognized the contributions of the staff to the successful integration of the former organizations.
Reardon said, “I want to thank the SAG-AFTRA staff for their tireless efforts to integrate our operations and to support us in building this magnificent new organization.”
Reardon also reported on her recent appearance at the National Principals Leadership Institute’s conference at Lincoln Center in New York, and at a recent panel discussing media depictions of women and girls in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology (SMET) careers, co-sponsored by the Entertainment Industries Council and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
National Executive Director’s Report
National Executive Director David White reported on the ongoing integration of the former SAG and AFTRA operations and previewed the staff organizational chart. As part of that report, White announced the promotion of Stephen Burrow to Senior Advisor, where he will oversee a portfolio of national and New York-based policy and contract matters. White also announced the promotion of David Viviano from National Director of Research and Economics, a title he previously held at Screen Actors Guild, to Chief Economist overseeing SAG-AFTRA’s newly established Office of Media and Labor Economics.
Co-Secretary Treasurers’ Report
Co-Secretary Treasurers Amy Aquino and Matt Kimbrough reported on preliminary strategic planning underway in the Finance department. Results of the planning process will be reported at the board’s October meeting.
The meeting was recessed at 6:30 p.m. PDT and will resume Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT.