LOS ANGELES (February 18, 2004) – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have reached agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to extend for one year the current TV/Theatrical contract set to expire on June 30, pending ratification of the deal. The extended deal – which will be considered by the joint SAG-AFTRA National Board this week and is expected to go before the SAG and AFTRA full memberships within the next 30 days – would be effective July 1, 2004 and conclude on June 30, 2005.

The key provisions of the extension agreement include:

· Beginning next year, SAG and AFTRA gain the right to negotiate jointly with the AMPTP on all terms and conditions for all primetime dramatic television programming.

· Freelance performers on new digitally produced programs on The WB and UPN will now be paid at the same daily rates as their network counterparts.

· The minimum salary rates for all performers will increase two-and-a-half percent (2.5%).

· Producers will increase their contributions to the unions’ health plans by one-half percent (0.5%).

· All background performers on new digitally produced programs for The WB and UPN will be covered by a SAG or AFTRA contract. On other Los Angeles programs, the number of SAG-covered background actors increases to 16.

· Stunt performers and coordinators will now be covered by union contracts on all primetime dramatic programs on all six networks.

· The unions and producers will begin full negotiations on a new three-year agreement this fall.

SAG President Melissa Gilbert said: “This agreement keeps actors working and makes significant gains in areas that matter most to our membership: equal pay for equal work, a raise in pay, a strengthened health plan, network salaries for WB and UPN actors, and broader coverage for background performers. Moreover, we have an opportunity to make more gains when we begin formal discussions on a new three-year contract this fall. Most importantly, this extension locks down the right for SAG and AFTRA to negotiate all primetime dramatic programming together, giving the unions unprecedented leverage that we have not had since the advent of television.”

AFTRA President John Connolly: “This process worked because AFTRA and SAG were able to combine our resources and focus solely on the issues that are most important to working actors. It is a direct result of the shared vision, commitment and priorities of these two unions. We have achieved significant movement on critical issues that will make a real difference to working performers. This is a shining example of the power and gains that AFTRA-SAG unity provides.”

AMPTP President Nick Counter said: “Of paramount importance was to keep the industry operating, without fear of interruption or a work slow down. All the parties negotiated in earnest in key areas in order to achieve the larger goal of another year of industry stability. We look forward to sitting down with the unions in the fall with adequate time to deal with the difficult issues in front of us without risking a disruption of production.”

Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP began in Encino, California on February 3, 2004 and concluded on February 17, 2004. The chief negotiators for the unions were SAG National Executive Director/CEO Bob Pisano and AFTRA National Executive Director Greg Hessinger. AMPTP President Nick Counter served as chief negotiator for the producers.


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