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AFTRA & SAG Members Overwhelmingly
Ratify TV & Radio Commercials Contracts
May 25, 2009
In nationwide voting completed on May 21, members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) overwhelmingly approved new three-year successor agreements to the 2006 AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts and the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Television Commercials Contract.

The memberships of AFTRA and SAG voted 93.84% in favor of the new agreements, the unions report. 
Approximately 132,000 members of the unions received ballots, of which 28% were completed. The final vote was certified by Integrity Voting Systems, an impartial election service based in Everett, WA.
The new agreements cover performers working in commercials made for and reused on television, radio, the Internet, and new media.
The unions estimate that the three-year increase, which is retroactively effective to April 1, will generate more than $108 million in member earnings, including approximately $24 million in increased contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement and SAG Pension & Health plans.
The total combined value of the AFTRA and SAG contracts is projected at more than $3 billion over the three-year term of the agreement for working performers, including actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, stunt persons, and extras.

The unions also successfully established a first-ever payment structure in commercials for the Internet and new media.
The unions affirmed their jurisdiction over commercial work made for the Internet in 2000, and new media formats in 2006. The new payment structure goes into effect in the third year of the contract.

Additionally, the new contracts contain an agreement outlining terms for a pilot study to test the Gross Rating Points (GRP) model of restructuring compensation to principle performers, as proposed by Booz & Co.
The two-year pilot study will be conducted by a jointly retained consultant engaged by the unions and the industry. The study is expected to be paid for by grants from Screen Actors Guild-Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund (IACF) and the AFTRA-Industry Cooperative Fund (AICF).

“I am pleased that SAG and AFTRA were able to work together to reach an agreement that will benefit actors who work in the advertising industry,” said SAG National President Alan Rosenberg.

Praising the successful ratification, AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon observed, “I am pleased that our members have ratified these new television and radio commercials contracts.
"These new agreements provide significant increases in payments to working performers now — a major achievement in a severely depressed global economy — and the contracts will guarantee our continued participation in this important area of work as it evolves in response to consumer tastes and trends affected by the changing landscape of digital technology,” said Reardon. 

“We have enormous power when we negotiate jointly and it put us in a great position from day one,” added Sue-Anne Morrow, Screen Actors Guild’s national chair of the SAG-AFTRA Joint Commercials Negotiating Committee.
“Achieving a minimum for ads made for the Internet and new media was a huge win," she added. "It was time to insist that actors be paid fairly for their exposure in these developing areas and members clearly approved through their overwhelming votes to ratify.”

The pact with the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies goes into effect retroactively to April 1, 2009, and will remain in force until March 31, 2012.

AFTRA and SAG members voted on the tentative agreement that had been reached with the advertising industry on March 31 and overwhelmingly recommended by the SAG-AFTRA Joint Board in a meeting on April 18. Ballots were mailed April 30 to all eligible members in good standing of either union.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America.
In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media.
The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century, notes the union. 
From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society

Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors.
Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century.
With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors who work in film, television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and other new media.
The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights.
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