SAG-AFTRA Strike Against BBH Ends After Sides Reach Agreement
In this Jan. 21, 2018, file photo, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris speaks at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP, File)
  • LOS ANGELES
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A 10-month strike by SAG-AFTRA against BBH in the U.S. is coming to an end after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new Commercials Contracts. BBH will produce all its commercials under these contracts, providing union wages and pension and health contributions to performers. As such, SAG-AFTRA members will be able to accept work on the ad shop’s productions. 

The dispute between the two parties came to the fore on Sept. 5, 2018 when BBH publicly announced it would withdraw as a signatory to the SAG-AFTRA contracts in place at that time,  contending that they were outdated and not responsive to the realities of a dramatically changing marketplace. SAG-AFTRA, which had filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), called a strike against the agency later that month. Then in May 2019, an administrative law judge ruled against BBH and instructed the ad agency to both recognize SAG-AFTRA as the representative of commercial performers and to negotiate with the union.

“Our goal from the start was to produce high-level, cutting-edge creative work for our clients on a level playing field in a fast-evolving industry. We lost the battle, will respect the ruling and move on. We thank our clients for their unrelenting support throughout this process,” read a statement from Brett Edgar, managing director of BBH NY. When asked by SHOOT for further comment, a BBH spokesperson declined to offer anything beyond what the agency and union released.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a released statement, “We’re pleased that BBH has returned to their longtime status as a SAG-AFTRA signatory. Since the inception of our relationship nearly 20 years ago, we have partnered effectively to provide the best talent in the world to BBH clients while ensuring fair compensation and safe working conditions for SAG-AFTRA members. It has been and will continue to be an extraordinarily productive relationship delivering value to the entire industry. Now, with our new 2019 Commercials Contracts we are thrilled that BBH can take full advantage of the transformative compensation models in this groundbreaking agreement to better compete in the constantly evolving advertising industry.”

David White, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA, stated, “We are pleased to welcome BBH back to the SAG-AFTRA family. The tremendous solidarity of our entire membership is to thank for helping bring BBH back to the table. Our members look forward to once again collaborating with BBH and providing their professional talent to create innovative, memorable and award-winning commercials.”

BBH is an agency in the Publicis Groupe family which also includes such notable SAG-AFTRA signatory shops as Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett.

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