SAG-AFTRA Members Approve New TV Contract

LOS ANGELES—SAG-AFTRA members last week voted to accept a new three-year contract with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox that includes an 8.7 percent wage increase over the term of the contract for most program fees and improves funding of the AFTRA Retirement Fund.

"I am gratified by our members’ vote of approval for this agreement. SAG-AFTRA members working in this area will benefit from stronger protections and meaningful increases in wages and residuals rates,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, who served as chair of the Network Television Code Negotiating Committee.

Programs covered by the agreement include dramas in first-run syndication, morning new shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports and promotional announcements.

Negotiations with signatory producers began May 30, and a tentative agreement was struck June 9. Members voted online and via paper ballots. The new contract, which run through June 30, 2021, was approved with a vote of 93 percent in the affirmative, a SAG-AFTRA statement said.

The pay increase will be phased in with a 2.5 percent bump the first year, 3 percent the second and another 3 percent in the third year, it said.

The contract addresses other pay provisions, including a 4.1 percent wage jump for daytime serial performers over three years and a 4.6 percent pay boost for background actors.

Contributions to the AFTRA Retirement Fund will be increased with a first-year boost of 0.5 percent, and the AFTRA Industry Cooperative Fund with a 0.2 percent bump. There is also an option to divert 0.5 percent of second and third year wage increases to the AFTRA Retirement Fund, according to the statement.

The contract, officially known as the 2018 SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting and commonly as the Network Television Code, includes many other provisions, such as:

  • A three-hour reduction in included rehearsal hours for dancers on all programs that are five minutes or less and those over five to 15 minutes;
  • A one-hour reduction in included rehearsal hours for singers on all but five-minute-or-less and over-five-to-15-minute programs;
  • An overtime pay hike for certain group dances on award shows from $45 to $48 per hour; and
  • An 11.5-percent increase in the stand-in and dance-ins rate from $26 to $29 per hour.

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.

More information is available on the SAG-AFTRA website

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.