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US union reaches deal on music videos

24 May 2012

female dancerSAG-AFTRA has announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with the major record labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co. — on a first-ever industrywide contract to cover dancers and other performers on music videos.

The three-year agreement was reached in the early morning hours of 1 June, after the current round of talks between the union and label representatives commenced on 30 May in Los Angeles.

The agreement is the first major contract negotiated by SAG-AFTRA, creating a separate contract under the existing AFTRA National Sound Recordings Code that provides safe and fair working conditions and health and retirement for virtually all performers employed in the production of music videos, including dancers, actors, narrators, singers, models and stunt performers. Choreographers and assistant choreographers are also covered in the contract for purposes of receiving health and retirement contributions.

 For further information visit the SAG-AFTRA website


EARLIER STORY: On May 19-20, the SAG-AFTRA National Board will consider a unanimous recommendation by the Executive Committee to implement a Do Not Work notice against music video productions.

Once implemented, SAG-AFTRA members may not accept employment as performers in any music video not produced under a SAG-AFTRA contract. A Do Not Work order for music videos is a result of the major record labels refusing to agree to a contract that meets the critical needs of music video performers.

This action will affect any SAG-AFTRA member hired to sing, dance, act or otherwise perform as talent on any music video that is not covered by the appropriate SAG-AFTRA contract, except for a royalty artist who is already contractually obligated to deliver certain services under an existing royalty agreement with a record label.  Specifically included are SAG-AFTRA members working as dancers, singers, choreographers, cameo performers, models, actors, and most other talent. SAG-AFTRA members who violate a Do Not Work order can be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion from membership.

This action follows performers’ efforts to secure an industry-wide contract for music video work, which most recently involved several rounds of contract discussions with the major record labels throughout 2011. SAG-AFTRA is continuing its efforts to reach agreement with the labels however this action is necessary because the labels have failed to agree to some of the most basic contract terms. Some of the outstanding issues involve guaranteed access to water and toilet facilities, proper safety protections for hard surface dancing, overtime provisions, health and retirement contributions and standardized rates of pay.

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