By David Robb
October 21, 2018
In a move to improve safety on the set, SAG-AFTRA says it will create a Stunt Coordinator Minimum General Standards Eligibility Process Guideline. The program, which was overwhelmingly approved today by the union’s national board of directors, is set to launch in 2020.
According to the union, it will permit prospective stunt coordinators to apply for inclusion on SAG-AFTRA’s online registry after demonstrating that they’ve completed 500 working days. The program also includes a volunteer mentoring program and an apprentice coordinator program.
“The development of the Stunt Coordinator Minimum General Standards Eligibility Process Guideline is a landmark achievement that will enhance skills training and ultimately help employers ensure set safety,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “I want to congratulate the stunt community and in particular National Stunt Committee Chair Cort Hessler for their help in developing this program.”
Carteris and SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White say they’re also scheduling meetings with stunt coordinators to discuss safety issues. The union’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Safety, meanwhile, has been meeting with studio reps to address safety concerns. That committee is chaired by SAG-AFTRA secretary Jane Austin.
In other business, the board unanimously approved a new TV animation contract and a new Basic Cable Agreement for Animated Motion Pictures and the recently negotiated Sound Recordings Code.
“I want to acknowledge the dedicated work and leadership of president Carteris, our negotiating committee leaders and staff, and the national board of directors,” White said. “Solidarity, strong contracts and safety on the job are the foundation of our union’s promise to its membership and the board’s actions approving these tentative agreements and establishing the stunt coordinator program are extraordinary achievements.”
Highlights of the TV Animation Contracts deal include:
- Wage increases and benefit contribution rate improvements on par with the gains achieved in live action negotiations:
- A 2.5-percent increase to minimums and .5 percent increase in the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund effective Sept. 16, 2018;
- A further 2.5-percent increase to minimums and .5 percent increase in the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund effective Jan. 1, 2019;
- A further 3-percent increase to minimums effective July 1, 2019, with the option to redirect .5 percent of that increase to the contribution rate to the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund.
- The improved terms and conditions that were negotiated in 2017 for live action programs produced for subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will apply to animated programs produced for those platforms with some modifications.
The TV Animation Contracts cover animated programs produced for television, including network television, basic cable and streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The new deal will continue through June 30, 2020.
Highlights of the Sound Recording Code include:
- Increase minimum wages by 3-percent Jan.1, 2019 and 2020 and 2.5-percent Dec. 31, 2020
- Increase health and retirement contributions to 13.00 percent effective July 1, 2019
- Increase the portion of streaming payments subject to health and retirement contributions from 15-percent to 50-percent
- Increase the foreign traditional use conversion fee for most licenses from 3-percent to 4-percent with substantially increased minimum and maximum payments
- Substantially increase the maximum health and retirement contribution for groups of six or more and index it to future increases in eligibility requirements
- Streamline the licensing and performer payment processes for foreign licenses, especially for tracks licensed into commercials.
- The new agreement is retroactive effective Jan. 1, 2018, and expires Dec. 31, 2020. The major record labels covered by the agreement include Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings, Capitol Records and Hollywood Records (Disney).
Following the board’s approval, both agreements will now go to the union’s membership for ratification. In keeping with the board’s prior policy resolution, the national referendum for the TV Animation Contracts and the Sound Recordings Code will be conducted via an online vote to ratify the contracts.