Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SAG Contract Graveyard

Where do SAG contracts go when they expire? Who knows, but wherever it is, it’s getting more crowded by the day. The Guild's got a lot of unfinished business, it turns out. Here’s the tally of contracts that have expired or will do so shortly, in order by expiration date:

  • Agency Franchise Agreement (expired 2002). This is the agreement between the talent agents and SAG. As SAG itself explains, the Franchise Agreement’s expiration means that SAG members have less protection from agents who, for instance, seek commissions greater than 10%, or a longer contract term length (for the representation) than the previously-effective franchise agreement allowed. AFTRA, DGA and WGA all have franchise agreements in place.
  • TV/Theatrical Agreement (expired June 30, 2008). This is the agreement that has been the subject of turmoil for the last nine months or more.
  • Basic Cable Agreement (was set to expire June 30, 2008, then extended to December 19, 2008, and now expired). As Variety reports, this contract with about 20 cable companies expired last month, and no date has been set for negotiations. Ironically, this is the agreement that SAG accuses AFTRA of undercutting with one-off deals. Now there isn’t even a deal in place to undercut. SAG members continue to work under the terms of the expired agreement.
  • Interactive Media Agreement (expired December 31, 2008). This is the agreement with video game companies. It expired, but automatically extends itself unless either party actually sends a notice of termination to the other. But by not negotiating an explicit renewal, SAG has failed to obtain any increases or other improvements that might be possible. UPDATE: I left this one out of the original post; thanks to Voiceguy for alerting me to it.
  • TV Animation Agreement (expires January 15, 2009). I’m informed that this contract for voiceover work expires next week and that no talks have been set.
  • Basic Cable Animation Agreement (expires January 15, 2009). Another voiceover contract, with expiration next week and no talks set.
  • Commercials Contract (was set to expire 2006, then extended to October 29, 2008, then again to March 31, 2009). On this one, at least, SAG, and AFTRA, working jointly, are making progress. They meet Friday to start crafting a contract proposal. However, no date has been set for negotiations; the expiration is approaching quickly; the ad industry has said it won’t grant another extension; and SAG staff and Board members are naturally preoccupied with the TV/Theatrical agreement. Will they be able to negotiate the Commercials agreement with the ad industry while simultaneously struggling internally and with the AMPTP (and possibly even running a strike, should that come to pass)? We’ll see. SAGWatch opines that the road may be rocky. I agree.

Follow me on Twitter at .

1 comment:

  1. You left out the Interactive Media Agreement, which expired on December 31, 2008.

    This agreement contains language that automatically extends it until one side or the other terminates it:

    "The term of the 2005-2008 Agreement shall commence on January 1, 2005 and be effective through December 31, 2008. Rate increases and new working conditions are effective as of July 29, 2005. In the event either party has not served appropriate timely notice of termination for the expiration date above, the Agreement shall be extended on a day-to-day basis until sixty (60) days after either party serves written notice of termination on the other."

    Thus, the only issue here is that rates will not increase.

    SAG has sought in the past to include "residuals" in this agreement (really more like royalties on the sales of hit video games). An attempt to achieve this in 2005 failed.