The two unions, which have had their differences, are working together to negotiate a new contract for union members making radio and TV commercials. Negotiations with ANA and AAAA are scheduled to begin on February 23rd. SAG and AFTRA had broken ranks on negotiating acting contracts with the Hollywood studios, leading to the current situation where AFTRA members approved a new contract months ago and SAG is in a stalemate with the studios, with its own membership deeply divided on how to proceed.
Getting the two unions to work together again clearly took some maneuvering. “A set of guidelines was established, including specific prohibitions on raiding and disparagement, in an effort to foster a healthy and productive joint bargaining relationship for these contracts. We look forward to working together to protect and advance the interests, careers, and lives of all SAG and AFTRA members who work under the commercials contracts,” said their joint statement.
In addition, the statement thanked officials of the AFL-CIO for getting them to stop squabbling. “We gratefully acknowledge the contribution to our new beginning made by AFL-CIO consultant Peter S. DiCicco representing President John Sweeney, AFL-CIO attorney Sarah Fox, and AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees President Paul Almeida,” it said.
Working with the AFL-CIO, the national boards of directors of AFTRA and SAG have established a framework in which the two unions will negotiate the AFTRA Television and Radio Recorded Commercials Contracts and the SAG Television Commercials Contract. As noted above, the talks with ANA and AAAA are set to begin on February 23rd. The current commercials contracts expire on March 31st.