Board Also Celebrates End of 10-Month-Long BBH Strike, Announces Plans To Standardize Intimacy Coordinators On-Set
Los Angeles and New York (July 21, 2019) – The SAG-AFTRA National Board met yesterday in a one-day video-conference plenary and approved an industry-transformative contract with global streaming service Netflix covering dramatic live-action productions. The first-of-its-kind deal between the union and the global streaming service recognizes performance capture as covered work and includes coverage of dubbing, which applies to Netflix’s foreign-language live-action and animated motion pictures dubbed into English.
The board also announced that, subject to final approval by the National Labor Relations Board, ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty U.S. Inc. (BBH) will sign the newly-negotiated Commercials Contracts, ending a 10-month long strike and media campaign by SAG-AFTRA. BBH will produce all its commercials under these contracts, providing union wages and pension and health contributions to performers.
Said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, “Netflix recognizes the value of working with SAG-AFTRA members, and the contributions we make in this global industry. I am gratified that this groundbreaking deal achieved longstanding member goals in particular the recognition of performance capture work, and other important improvements that members want and deserve.
“We’re also pleased that BBH returned to their longtime status as a SAG-AFTRA signatory. Now BBH can take full advantage of the transformative compensation models in the new 2019 Commercials Contracts agreement to better compete in the constantly evolving advertising industry.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said, “Our deal with Netflix is a tremendous win for SAG-AFTRA members and for Netflix. I am also pleased that BBH has rejoined the SAG-AFTRA family and I thank and salute our members for their incredible solidarity during the strike.”
In other business, the union announced that it will collaborate with Alicia Rodis, the associate director and co-founder of Intimacy Directors International (IDI), the intimacy coordinators with IDI and other trained providers to standardize, codify and implement guidelines for on-set intimacy coordinators. The guidelines will seek to establish new, relevant policies for nudity and simulated sex; define the duties and standards for intimacy coordinators on productions; and specify acceptable training, vetting and qualifications of intimacy coordinators.
The National Board also received reports including:
President Carteris opened the meeting with a moment of silence in honor of members who have passed away since the last meeting and shared a special remembrance for former AFTRA president Reed Farrell who recently passed away. Carteris celebrated BBH’s return to the Commercials Contracts and the end of the strike against the ad agency and applauded the revolutionary new contract with Netflix.
Carteris also noted a recent victory that SAG-AFTRA had won at the NLRB against SBS regarding surface bargaining on the unit at radio stations in Los Angeles. “We want to make sure we get the SBS members what is due to them,” said Carteris. “I know we will prevail.”
Carteris noted that the union has recently completed negotiation of an agreement with the National Association of Actors (ANDA), the Mexican actors union. The agreement includes enhanced cooperation between both unions.
Carteris was joined by National Executive Director David White in reporting on the union’s new initiative on intimacy coordinators saying the effort to standardize and expand the IC role was a significant move forward in protecting members in highly exposed work situations.
Executive Vice President Report
Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon reported on SAG-AFTRA’s recent participation in the symposium hosted by the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Task Force on the Future of Work, and the Ford Foundation in June.
National Executive Director’s Report
National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White reported on the deal with Netflix and saluted the contracts staff led by Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez for their work on the agreement.
White noted that the BBH strike had a favorable outcome with the ad agency coming back to the commercials contracts.
He also reported that revenue for recording artists under SAG-AFTRA contracts worldwide is increasing year over year. He welcomed the new members from KCRW and saluted the union’s lawyers and organizing staff who helped the media workers at the public radio station achieve recognition of SAG-AFTRA as their bargaining representative.
He also reported on the progress in implementing the union’s direct deposit program and noted that $28 million had been processed since the program’s inception. White also noted that training and vetting of intimacy coordinators could begin as soon as October and also reported that the stunt performer education program is ongoing.
Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto gave the financial report for the year ending April 2019. The presentation also included a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers in which they issued an unqualified audit opinion.
Ozzanto reported a year-end surplus of nearly $4.6 million due to a combination of increased revenue and expense management.
Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez presented the contracts report. In addition to approving the Netflix agreement, the board also voted up the 2019-20 TV/Theatrical proposal package for contract negotiations with the AMPTP. Details of the proposal package are confidential and per standard practice will not be released.
The board also received and approved reports on the Commercials Infomercial agreement, Commercials Jingle Agreement and new SAG-AFTRA Low Budget contracts.
Rodriguez also recognized his contracts staff team for their work.
Legal and Governance Report
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland updated the board on the latest inter-union cooperation agreement with ANDA. The agreement includes provisions for collaboration on contract and rule enforcement, organizing, and technology initiatives, among others, and was approved unanimously
The meeting was adjourned at 8:53 p.m. PT.
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at sagaftra.org.