SAG-AFTRA, JPC Reach Tentative Agreement

Advertising Law

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) announced on April 2 that they have reached a tentative agreement on the terms for successor television and audio commercials contracts. The deal will now be submitted to the SAG-AFTRA national board for approval at its April 13–14 meeting. If the board signs off, the agreement will move to the membership for ratification.

The 2016 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract was set to expire on March 31, but its terms were extended as negotiations, which began on February 20, continued until the afternoon of April 2.

While the specifics were not released, the parties stated that the tentative agreement “introduces an innovative and flexible alternative compensation model that specifically addresses the realities of the modern advertising business while preserving and enhancing opportunities for actors to have a professional career.” Additionally, the parties announced that SAG-AFTRA members will see their wages rise across all categories of work, increases in their benefit plans, coverage for stunt coordinators, gains for group dancers, protections against workplace sexual harassment and “streamlined processes” for commercial agents representing members.

While the 2016 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract had made a number of improvements to address the needs of the changing industry as digital content production continued to proliferate and become increasingly important, SAG-AFTRA had been struggling for some time to stay relevant and avoid circumvention of the Commercials Contract by agencies and advertisers.

Based on a statement issued by Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA president and chair of the Negotiating Committee, the new agreement “modernizes the commercials contracts” and make them more relevant. The JPC chief negotiator, Stacy Marcus, called the deal “a landmark agreement that protects industry and member interests, while creating a structure that will also grow the opportunities for years to come.”

To read the press release about the agreement, click here.

Why it matters: As the current SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract is complex and somewhat antiquated, many advertisers and agencies have tailored their agreements to avoid the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract provisions. Based on the optimistic statements of the SAG-AFTRA and JPC negotiators, the parties may have found a way to make the Commercials Contract simpler, more flexible and more relevant. Stay tuned for more information as the details of the final terms become public.