While not officially confirmed, we had thought the proposed Commercials Contract would guarantee all performers (including stand-ins) would receive callsheets if SAG-AFTRA members ratify the contract. That does not appear now to be the case. I have emended the section below to cross out what does not appear to be the case, which also discourages our interest in encouraging a yes-vote on the proposed Commercials Contract. With that said, this information comes about four hours before voting closes.
— The Editor
If you haven’t heard, SAG-AFTRA and the employer association for commercials producers, the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), were renegotiating the expiring SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract. They recently came to a tentative agreement, and after the SAG-AFTRA National Board approved it “92.92% to 7.08%,” now this proposed agreement is before SAG-AFTRA membership for vote.
Although the exact language of the proposed agreement is not currently available, SAG-AFTRA has published a Referendum Booklet (dated April 19, 2022) so you may review a summary of the proposed agreement. The Referendum Booklet is available here to review.
If a majority of SAG-AFTRA members vote yes, the proposed Commercials Contract is ratified and goes into effect.
However, if a majority of SAG-AFTRA members vote no, the proposed Commercials Contract does not go into effect; SAG-AFTRA and the JPC will need to go back into negotiations; and the currently expired contract will be the status quo until SAG-AFTRA members ratify a new agreement.
A Quick Primer on SAG-AFTRA Contracts & Stand-Ins
At Stand-In Central, we attend to issues around stand-ins.
While under other SAG-AFTRA contracts, stand-ins are classified as a type of background actor, it’s different under the Commercials Contract.
Under the Commercials Contract, there are no “background actors”–instead, there are “extra performers,” who are roughly equivalent.
But under the Commercials Contract, stand-ins are not a type of extra performer. Instead, stand-ins are their own job class.
Under the current (right now expired) SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract, stand-ins on most commercials make $427.20 (for 8 hours) (per this rate sheet which may expire soon).
What the Proposed SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract Offers Stand-Ins
Truth be told, SAG-AFTRA did not achieve anything for stand-ins specifically. This is disappointing to see.
Instead, stand-ins largely benefit from the overall bargaining gains other job classes under the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract will gain if members ratify this proposed agreement.
Much of the gains are for those who appear on camera, so most of the proposed gains don’t apply to stand-ins.
What Gains Will Stand-Ins See If Ratified?
Like other performers under the proposed SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract, if ratified, stand-ins will see the following specific gains pertinent to their work:
- A wage increase by 4.88% immediately and retroactively to April 1st, 2022 (making the stand-in daily rate about $448.05 (for most stand-ins)).
- Then, less than a month later on June 1st, 2022, another wage increase by 4.88% (making the stand-in daily rate about $469.91 (for most stand-ins)).
So, by June 1st, 2022, stand-ins under this contract would receive about a $42.71 increase in their daily rate from the prior contract, which is effectively a 10% rise in the daily rate.
“All performers shall be provided a call sheet that includes SAG-AFTRA’s SAFER-SET Hotline Number — (844) SAFER SET/ (844) 723-3773 — and SAG-AFTRA’s SAFE PLACE reporting tool for sexual harassment, sagaftrasafeplace.org.”
The Referendum Booklet classifies this gain under “Nudity & Intimate Acts,” so it’s unclear whether this proposed gain only applies in the event of nudity and intimate acts on a commercial, or if it applies on all commercials for all performers — and even if stand-ins are included. In SAG-AFTRA’s podcast episode on the proposed contract, Gabrielle Carteris talks at 32:30 about the proposed callsheet gain. Given that this summary of the proposed gain has to deal with sexual harassment, which is an issue for all unit members,
the language, in theory, would apply to stand-ins as well as “All performers.”
That’s about all stand-ins really will see if SAG-AFTRA members ratify this proposed Commercials Contract. There’s nothing really “innovative” or “transformative” for stand-ins in this contract, despite the union’s general claims.
The increase in the daily rates by effectively 10% is unprecedented in recent memory under any SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreement (though this increase is for a three-year period, when other SAG-AFTRA contracts tend toward 2.5%-3% wage increases each year). That’s the biggest deal, and pretty nice.
And if the callsheet is also to be gained, stand-ins won’t have to root around in the garbage or sneak around to photograph a callsheet, in order to find names and contact information for various employees, and may also be better clued into their workdays with the information callsheets provide.
The proposed provision of callsheets to stand-ins may need to be clarified before Stand-In Central certifies a recommended vote.
But based on these proposed gains and based on the stand-in perspective only, Stand-In Central tends toward recommending SAG-AFTRA members to vote yes on the referendum in order to ratify the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract.
How are you going to vote on the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract? Why are you voting that way? Share your opinions in the comments below!