Spring 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 64

F or SAG-AFTRA members who work in commercials, technological advances have brought about major changes in how they do their work, and that means the union has had to adapt as well. Distribution has come a long way since actors pitched a product live for a handful of TV and radio stations. Now, commercials can be seen and heard on computers and mobile phones, streaming on the Internet or within podcasts. e commercials contracts are a significant source of income for members, so SAG-AFTRA is dedicated to making sure contract provisions benefit and protect members today and into the future. Forward-thinking changes can be seen in a number of facets of the recently approved contracts and its side letters — the first such contract for the merged union. For instance, advertisers were given more flexibility for special offers and promotions. at means a company such as a supermarket can make minor changes to a commercial — say, offering a sale on avocados one week and a sale on paper towels the next — without it being considered a whole new ad. Meeting the needs of advertisers in a way that still protects members' rights ends up producing more opportunities for members, since companies are more likely to become signatory. Adapting to Change in the Commercials World "Employers want top-tier performers to represent their products and our members need work. By focusing on our common goals, we were able to agree on a contract that's more attractive to advertisers, while protecting the gains members have fought so hard to achieve," said SAG-AFTRA Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez. Also under the new contract, members may participate in commercial contests that solicit entries from the general public — as long as the winning entry will be done under a SAG-AFTRA contract. In addition, SAG-AFTRA has created the new position of commercials strategist to coordinate efforts by the union to secure and expand its commercials jurisdiction, with the goal of increasing members' access to work under the union's collective agreement. e new strategist is Gary Saxe, based in the New York office, who served for 13 years as a national organizer at SAG-AFTRA's Canadian sister union, ACTRA. Saxe said he is honored to be working for SAG-AFTRA and eager to address the challenges members face. "e advertising industry is in a state of flux. We need to think creatively to find ways of protecting our members' wages and work opportunities. I'm confident that together we'll be able to improve conditions for members who work on commercials," he said. Another way the union is preparing for the future is with the recently instituted Ad-ID system, which is the first step in tracking commercials across all media. Previously, there was a patchwork of different systems being used to identify commercials, systems such as ISCI — e International Standardized Commercial Identifier — codes, but there was no uniformity. Under the latest agreement, SAG-AFTRA worked with advertisers to make Ad-ID the universal standard. Like a bar code on retail goods, Ad-ID provides a single system to identify ads. Ultimately, it helps create a framework for tracking ads, and that will benefit both members and their employers. "For some time, the union has wanted a single system for tracking ads. It is more important now than ever, with technology having created a fragmented audience that is consuming media through a variety of different channels. We are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with advertisers to make Ad-ID the industry standard," said SAG-AFTRA Executive Director, Commercials Contracts Sandy Kincaid. Find out more at But amid the continuing evolution of media, one thing hasn't changed: Global Rule One/No Contract No Work. Members are responsible for ensuring that the commercial on which they've agreed to work is a union production, and they need to confirm it is before they sign a contract. To do so, call (323) 549-6858 in Los Angeles, (212) 827-1454 in New York or contact your local office everywhere else. When you work off the card, you're hurting yourself, because you are missing some of the most important benefits of being a SAG-AFTRA member. Non-union jobs don't pay residuals, and that's money you are due; compensation that your fellow members fought hard to achieve so that performers can make a living doing what they love. Encouraging employers to go non-union by working these productions puts the whole system in jeopardy. It's also not contributing to your health care eligibility or your retirement, which can be detrimental now and down the road. | Spring 2014 | SAG-AFTRA 33 33_commercials_F.indd 33 4/23/14 2:13 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SAG-AFTRA - Spring 2014