I hope you are doing well. By now, you should have seen that on June 11, our union reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on the successor three-year TV/Theatrical Contracts.
On June 29, the National Board approved the tentative agreement by a super majority and recommended members vote “YES” to ratify the contracts.
Postcards with voting instructions mailed to eligible members on July 1; you should be receiving them soon. Also, there is a membership informational meeting on Tuesday, July 14, at 5 p.m.
On behalf of your National Board member Mike Kraycik and myself, we are voting YES for this contract and asking all Philadelphia members to vote YES as well — and help spread the word. This contract is great for Philadelphia members.
Some highlights of the agreement are below, and I hope we can count on your support for this historic, forward-looking and groundbreaking agreement.
Lastly, I urge my extended broadcast radio and TV news family to please make your vote and voice count by voting YES. What is good for our fellow SAG-AFTRA members in Philadelphia under the TV/Theatrical contract is great for all of us and for a more secure future in our wonderful business.
President, SAG-AFTRA Philadelphia Local
Highlights of the Agreement
Package Value – $318 million:
This is a great deal at any time, but it is an amazing deal in bad times. In the middle of a global pandemic, at a time of economic upheaval and dramatic declines in industry revenue, we were able to secure huge gains for our members. This is the most lucrative deal we have ever achieved – a 4% increase overall vs. 3.6% average over the last couple of contract negotiations. What’s more, the $318 million is in meaningful areas like wages and benefits for all members. That’s real dollars in members’ pockets.
The agreement was shaped by member feedback. SAG-AFTRA prioritized the issues most important to members, both in protecting existing provisions and in seeking additional gains.
The general wage increase (2.5% in the first year, 3% in the second year and 3% in the third year, with options to divert 0.5% to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan or the SAG Pension Plan/AFTRA Retirement Fund in years two and three) translates to millions in wage increases for background performers.
Additionally, we added one additional background to the count in the Western Zones effective in the second year, which will result in an additional 2,100 background jobs per year under historical employment patterns.
Finally, the rule that you receive full-day wages if you are not provided advance notice of a nude performance and refuse to perform is now extended to non-nude simulated sex acts. AMPTP must issue a safety bulletin to casting agencies directing them to request a producer alert them if a role will require any simulated sex acts or nude scenes, so that background performers are notified prior to booking.
Our negotiators stayed focused on the future and our team used their leverage to increase project coverage, build up streaming residuals and position us where the growth and the money are and will be.
New streaming budget provisions mean more money for more actors. The new lower budget thresholds mean that more productions will move under the high-budget category, which means scale pay and traditional contract terms. That’s a win.
Our team negotiated a 26% increase in fixed streaming residuals over the first three years. This is terrific and exactly what our members were asking for. This is where the work is going, and we need to make sure our money follows.
What’s more, under the new agreement, any performer who has earnings that hit the high-budget subscription video on demand (HBSVOD) ceilings will actually see a 35% increase over the 2017 contract for the first three years of residuals. And, for those shows that start later in the contract term, it’s a 45% improvement over 2017 terms.
Higher domestic HBSVOD residuals also mean higher foreign HBSVOD residuals, since they are calculated as a percentage of the domestic total for the first three years. After three years, the foreign rate will now be 35% of the domestic rate every year — up from the previous formula, which decreased to 25% and then to 10% after 12 years.
Increasing residuals for streaming products is super smart and focused on the future.
This new proposed agreement includes a projected funding increase of $97 million to the pension, health and retirement plans for the next three years. It also has significant gains and improvements to travel for work, platform exchange (negotiated protection for when a show from the platform it was created for moves to another platform) and performer safety, with revisions to nudity, simulated sex, sexual harassment provisions.