The New SAG Contract: 5 Things You Should Know

The New SAG Contract: 5 Things You Should Know

The current contract between the Screen Actors Guild and the Joint Policy committee of the ANA/AAAA which sets terms and conditions for all union talent appearing in broadcast advertising (TV, Cable, Internet, New Media) expires on March 31, 2016.  Negotiations are now underway for the new contract, which will run until March 31, 2019.  Here are 5 considerations to help you anticipate, participate and prepare for the changes to come.

  1. Contract Terms

The current contract terms will remain in force if the two sides are unable to reach a ratified agreement by March 31st.  However, any advertising produced after March 31st will retroactively be aligned to the new contract once it is ratified.  In other words, you will have to pay the difference in pay for session fees, holding fees and Pension & Health, assuming the new cost is higher.  Because of this, you may want to consider producing any currently approved or pending advertising prior to the March 31st end date to take advantage of what will most probably be more favorable terms of payment.

If, for any reason, you are considering rescinding your signatory status with either the Screen Actors Guild, or your authorization of the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) which binds you as a signatory, please understand that any commercials produced during the current contract period of 4/1/2013-3/31/2016 will still be bound by the terms of the current contract if you decide to continue their exhibition.

  1. Signatory Status

If you are unsure of your company’s status as a signatory, you can contact Kim Stevens, Director of Industry Relations of the JPC, at or (212) 549-0324.  Her mailing address is 599 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022.  She will be able to determine if you are or are not a signatory.

Besides your company being a direct signatory, if your agency of record is a signatory (and most large agencies are) then any work they produce for you comes under the SAG contract.

  1. Off-Shore Productions

Production shot off-shore is exempt, but be aware, the contract forbids taking a commercial outside of the U.S. for the purpose of avoiding SAG payments.  Your reason must be for savings in the cost of production, or because it is a commercial to be used by multiple regions on the globe, or its essential location is a foreign country.  Contact us here at MRA for specific guidance in this matter.

  1. “Hot” Issues

The 2013 contract included some advantageous defining of what was covered and not covered by SAG in terms of contests and “man on the street” commercials, and was ratified after only 2 weeks or so of negotiation.  The anticipation for this year’s negotiation is for a more typically contentious collective bargaining process.  “Hot” issues include: new media, ad agencies using third party sources to utilize SAG talent while not signing the SAG contract themselves, and off shore production.

  1. MRA’s Promise

MRA stands at the ready to help you through this process, both in terms of planning, budgeting and getting your voice heard by the JPC if there are issues that are a priority for you.  Our newest consultant, Jerry Rice, was the vice chairman of the JPC from 2004-2015. He has been through 4 contract negotiations and brings special insight to this process.

As the negotiations progress we will update you on all the progress as well as any issues that might crop up, as your complete production partners.  It’s the MRA Way.

If you’re not yet a client of MRA, we’d like to learn about your business.  Give us a call at 513-354-3833 or email Stacey St. John at