Soap Performers Officially Getting 7.2% Overall Wage Increase — SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Network Television Code

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

One month after announcing that 93% of its board approved the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (Network Television Code), SAG-AFTRA announced today that its members have overwhelmingly ratified the new contract with 96.5% of the members voting in favor.

“I congratulate our members on ratifying this excellent agreement. Our members will benefit from increased wages and overtime rates, expanded residuals and stronger protections,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard, who served as chair of the Network Television Code Negotiating Committee. “No matter the platform or type of work, SAG-AFTRA members working under this contract can be proud of the solid gains we achieved.”

Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris and New York President Mike Hodge served as vice chairs.

The agreement with broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, among other producers, covers dramas in first-run syndication, morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports and promotional announcements.

“We established many important gains in this contract and I would like to once again thank President Ken Howard and the entire negotiating committee for their efforts. I also want to commend the great work of our staff who worked tirelessly to get the best deal for our members, in particular, my heartfelt gratitude goes to Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, Assistant National Executive Director Joan Halpern Weise and Associate National Executive Director Mathis Dunn,” said National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White.

Highlights of the new contract include:

    • Increases in contract minimums over a three-year period, including an 8.7-percent overall wage increase to most program fees, implemented through increases of 2.5 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year;
    • Increases in other categories as follows:
    • A 6.1-percent increase in overall wages for news inserts/news service fees, implemented through increases of 2 percent the first year, 2 percent the second year and 2 percent the third year;
    • A 7.2-percent overall wage increase for serial (soap opera) performers, implemented through increases of 2 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third year;
    • An increase in contributions to the AFTRA Retirement Fund of .5 percent, starting in year one;
    • A 36-percent increase to background rehearsal rates in year two, from $11 per hour to $15 per hour, and a 12-percent increase for principal rehearsal rates in year two from $25 per hour to $28 per hour;
    • Expands the ability for stunt coordinators to work under this contract;
    • Increases in the overtime rate from $37.50 per hour to $42 per hour for principals and $16.50 per hour to $22.50 per hour for background actors;
    • For the first time, achieved a premium payment for solo/duo singers for multitracking and sweetening;
    • An 8-percent increase in the stand-in rate for non-dramatic programming, increasing from $24 per hour to $25 per hour in year one, and from $25 per hour to $26 per hour in year three;
    • Agreement that a bulletin will be issued to producers of content under this agreement to help ensure adequate warm-up space for dancers;
    • Increases in the streaming residuals rate and a reduction in streaming windows, consistent with the industry pattern;
    • Language to help facilitate the merger of the SAG and AFTRA benefit plans.

The negotiating committee consisted of performers, including principal performers, background actors, promo announcers, stand-ins, singers and dancers.

Employment under the Network Television Code generates more than $200 million a year in covered member earnings. The Code covers programming in all television day parts (except for scripted primetime programs on the networks and the CW, which is covered under the SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement) and programming produced for digital media. Covered programs include morning news shows, talk shows, serials (soap operas), variety, reality, contest, sports, dramas in first-run syndication and promotional announcements.

Current programs covered by this contract include: “CBS This Morning,” “Days of our Lives,” “The View,” “Jeopardy,” “General Hospital,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “60 Minutes,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” among many others.