- Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
The SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Stunt Coordinator Minimum General Standards Eligibility Process Guideline during its regularly scheduled two-day plenary Oct. 20 and 21 in Los Angeles.
The program, set to launch in 2020, will permit prospective stunt coordinators to apply for inclusion on SAG-AFTRA’s online registry after demonstrating that they have completed 500 working days. The program also includes a volunteer mentoring program and an apprentice coordinator program.
In addition, President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White are scheduling meetings with stunt coordinators to discuss safety issues.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the 2014 Producer-SAG AFTRA Television Animation Agreement and the 2014 Producer-SAG AFTRA Basic Cable Agreement for Animated Motion Pictures and the recently negotiated Sound Recordings Code.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “The development of the Stunt Coordinator Minimum General Standards Eligibility Process Guideline is a landmark achievement that will enhance skills training and ultimately help employers ensure set safety. I want to congratulate the stunt community and in particular National Stunt Committee Chair Cort Hessler for their help in developing this program. ”
Carteris continued, “I also want to congratulate the Sound Recording Code and Animation Contract negotiating committee members and staff on their great work in bargaining strong contracts with meaningful gains for members working in these evolving spaces.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White said, “I want to acknowledge the dedicated work and leadership of President Carteris, our negotiating committee leaders and staff, and the national board of directors. Solidarity, strong contracts and safety on the job are the foundation of our union’s promise to its membership and the board’s actions approving these tentative agreements and establishing the stunt coordinator program are extraordinary achievements.”
Highlights of the TV Animation Contracts deal include:
- Wage increases and benefit contribution rate improvements on par with the gains achieved in live action negotiations:
- A 2.5-percent increase to minimums and .5 percent increase in the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund effective Sept. 16, 2018;
- A further 2.5-percent increase to minimums and .5 percent increase in the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund effective Jan. 1, 2019;
- A further 3-percent increase to minimums effective July 1, 2019, with the option to redirect .5 percent of that increase to the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund.
- The improved terms and conditions that were negotiated in 2017 for live action programs produced for subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will apply to animated programs produced for those platforms with some modifications.
The TV Animation Contracts cover animated programs produced for television, including network television, basic cable and streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The new deal will continue through June 30, 2020.
Highlights of the Sound Recording Code include:
- Increase minimum wages by 3-percent Jan.1, 2019 and 2020 and 2.5-percent Dec. 31, 2020
- Increase health and retirement contributions to 13.00 percent effective July 1, 2019
- Increase the portion of streaming payments subject to health and retirement contributions from 15-percent to 50-percent
- Increase the foreign traditional use conversion fee for most licenses from 3-percent to 4-percent with substantially increased minimum and maximum payments
- Substantially increase the maximum health and retirement contribution for groups of six or more and index it to future increases in eligibility requirements
- Streamline the licensing and performer payment processes for foreign licenses, especially for tracks licensed into commercials.
The new agreement is retroactive effective Jan. 1, 2018, and expires Dec. 31, 2020. The major record labels covered by the agreement include Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings, Capitol Records and Hollywood Records (Disney).
Following the board’s approval, both agreements will now go to the union’s membership for ratification. In keeping with the board’s prior policy resolution, the national referendum for the TV Animation Contracts and the Sound Recordings Code will be conducted via an online vote to ratify the contracts.
Traditional paper ballots will also be available on request to any eligible voter who asks for such a ballot. Members who are eligible to vote will receive a postcard with ballot instructions explaining how to vote electronically or how to request a paper ballot.
The postcard for the TV Animation Contracts will be mailed to members on or about Oct. 29, 2018. Ratification votes received by the voting deadline of approximately Nov. 19, 2018 (electronically or by mail) will be tabulated on the same day. Postcards for the Sound Recordings Code will be mailed to members on or about Nov. 12, 2018. Ratification votes received by the voting deadline of approximately Dec. 3, 2018 (electronically or by mail) will be tabulated on the same day.
Informational meetings will be scheduled for members across the country to discuss both tentative agreements. Information about the agreements will also be posted online prior to the balloting period.
The National Board also received reports including:
- President’s Report
President Carteris began her report with congratulations for SAG-AFTRA Senior Advisor John McGuire, who received a Directors Guild of America DGA Honors in New York on Oct. 18. She also saluted National Board Member John Carter Brown and broadcaster Belva Davis on being named Howard Keel Award recipients. The Keel Awards will be presented Monday evening in Los Angeles.
Carteris also spoke about a recent visit to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she and Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon joined other labor leaders in reviewing demonstrations in advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology systems. The group also discussed workplace innovations, job displacement, the ethics of mass mechanization and collaboration with the academic research and development community.
Carteris also reported on the recent International Federation of Actors (FIA) executive council meetings and Symposium on the Artist held in Tokyo, Japan. She and White delivered presentations to a global audience of more than 500 actors, industry officials, politicians, media representatives and others.
- Executive Vice President’s Report
EVP Damon reported on the various technology demonstrations viewed at Carnegie Mellon University including a presentation on facial expression recognition AI software used in the development of robotic tutors and other tools and their potential impacts on our industry.
Damon also reported that the union is developing a number of innovative technology applications that will enhance industry engagement and member service.
- National Executive Director’s Report
White provided a confidential report on the union’s strike against BBH.
He updated the board on operations and was was joined by Chief Economist David Viviano who reported on several key performance metrics, illustrating continued membership and earnings growth.
White also announced the creation of the Center for Business Innovation, headed by Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Daniel Inukai who briefed the board on several technology enhancements in development now.
- Secretary-Treasurer’s/Finance Report
The board received a finance report from Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto. Austin and Ozzanto reported that fiscal year 2019 first quarter results are on plan and tracking to budget.
- Legal and Governance Report
Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland delivered a governance report covering Executive Committee actions, administrative and governance matters. Crabtree-Ireland also updated the board on foreign royalties funds.
On Saturday, SAG-AFTRA presented the President’s Award and Founders Award to five distinguished members for their historic contributions to the union. The special tributes were presented during the first day of the National Board meeting. Carteris presented the President’s Award to actor and former Screen Actors Guild President Richard Masur for his meritorious service to the union and its membership.
The Founders Award is chosen by SAG-AFTRA’s Honors and Tributes Committee, honoring early members of SAG-AFTRA’s predecessor unions, SAG and AFTRA, who have provided meritorious service to fellow members. This year’s recipients are Barbara Perry, Marsha Hunt, Norman Lloyd and June Lockhart.
The meeting adjourned at 1:28 p.m. PST.
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.