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New Collective Bargaining Agreement with SAG and AFTRA

The JPC and SAG/AFTRA have tentatively agreed on terms for a new collective bargaining agreement commencing April 1, 2009 and ending March 31, 2012.  Until the formal agreement is signed (most likely in mid-May following voting by the SAG and AFTRA Boards and union members), business continues under the existing contract.

Formal negotiations began on February 23 and concluded at 5:30am on April 1.  Since the opening of negotiations, the two sides met for a total of 25 days.

In many ways, these negotiations set a new stage in the relationship between the advertising industry and the unions, continuing to build on relationship of mutual respect.  Rather than approaching the bargaining table as adversaries, the two sides sought to find solutions to one another's key issues.  While many of these issues were difficult to resolve, the conviction by all parties to find reasons to agree rather than disagree resulted in a fair and balanced agreement.

The wage package increases compensation in the first year by 4.43% for television and 5.35% for radio.  There are no increases in second and third years. The overall wage package totals 5.5% when you add on the other "bumps", e.g., increase in Internet Moveover minimums.  This overall rate is among the lowest wage increases in any major collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 2009.  By contrast, the 2006 contract gave the unions a 6% increase over two years.  Gains for the industry include an agreement to conduct a major pilot of the GRP model that could lead to the adoption of the GRP payment methodology as early as 2011.  Also included is a streamlined process to determine allocations in multi-service agreements, a cap on Pension & Health Fund payments, liberalized terms for PSA's, much needed freedoms when filming at places of employment, full exemption for CEO's and the like, protection for agencies working with non-signatories, and successive 8 week cycles for Internet and New Media moveovers.

Union gains include a bump in the Moveover rate from three sessions to three and a half sessions and, effective in April 2011, a minimum rate for made fors for the third year of the contract, a .5% increase in P&H, some concessions for extras and choreographers, and some minor increases regarding Spanish Language, cable, and other ancillary provisions.