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DGA & AMPTP Start Contract Talks Nov. 16

By | Thursday November 11, 2010 @ 11:47am PST

As expected, the networks’ and studios’ negotiating alliance announced:

LOS ANGELES – The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced today that they have agreed to enter into formal contract negotiations on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. The talks will be held at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, CA. The DGA and the AMPTP have also agreed that neither organization will comment to the press regarding negotiations until negotiations have concluded.

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AMPTP & SAG/AFTRA Reach Tentative Pact: 2% Wage Increase A Year + Immediate 1.5% Bump To Bolster Health/Pension Plans

By | Sunday November 7, 2010 @ 4:45am PST

The studios’ and networks’ Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made the first statement at 4:30 AM this morning after 6 weeks of negotiating on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract jointly with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Both actor memberships will have to ratify the tentative pact whose announced highlights provide an expectedly small 2% wage increase per year because the emphasis of the talks was placed on increasing the current rate of employer contributions paid with an immediate 1.5% bump to bolster the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds. Friday was the final “official” day of bargaining, which began September 27th, but the two sides continued into the weekend. Analysis coming:

“We are pleased to have successfully reached a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract with the Screen Actors Guild and a new prime time television contract with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The deals offer increases in benefit contributions, wages and other areas critical to working performers while being responsive to the current challenges facing feature film and television producers. The early agreements also ensure that production can continue without disruption for everyone who depends on this industry.”

And this is the joint statement by the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA:

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All Basic Crafts Unions Ratify New Pacts

By | Wednesday August 18, 2010 @ 5:13pm PDT

Last night, members of Local 755 were the fifth and final of the Basic Crafts unions to ratify the tentative agreement reached Saturday, July 24, 2010 (Teamsters Local 399 were the first to ratify, doing so on July 25). In response to ratification by all of the Basic Crafts, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has issued the following statement:

“The five Basic Crafts Unions have now ratified new contracts with the producers represented by the AMPTP, ensuring that production can continue without interruption for the studios and union members. The two sides reached a fair deal with gains in wages, benefits and other terms for the unions while recognizing the current economic realities of the industry. This would not have been possible without hard work and commitment of the leadership of each of the Basic Crafts Unions, whose negotiating committee was chaired by Local 399 Secretary-Treasurer Leo T. Reed. The five Basic Crafts Unions are International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 40, Plumbers, Local No. 78, Teamsters, Local No. 399, Studio Utility Employees, Local No. 724, and Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons, Local No. 755.”

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Teamsters Local 399 Ratify Contract Today; Moguls Were Never Worried About Strike

By | Sunday July 25, 2010 @ 11:49am PDT

Full story coming…

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AFTRA National Board Approves 1-Year Extension Of Network TV Code

By | Friday June 11, 2010 @ 4:48pm PDT

AFTRA_LOGO_SLOGONEW YORK (June 11, 2010)—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO), a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists, today announced that the AFTRA National Board of Directors unanimously approved a one-year extension to the AFTRA Network Television Code, which covers television programming except network dramatic primetime shows, at its annual face-to-face plenary taking place in New York City.

The one-year extension agreement between AFTRA and the four major television broadcast networks and producers will cover the period of Nov. 16, 2010, to Nov. 15, 2011. It will include a 2% increase in minimum program fees, including background actors, and a 0.5% increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds – effective Jan. 1, 2011 and specifically devoted to the Retirement Fund – which will bring the total Network Code contribution rate to 15.6%. Terms covering Network Code programs made-for and reused in new media will also be extended for one year and will remain unchanged. The National Board approved sending out the extension for ratification by membership meetings in the five major AFTRA Locals of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington/Baltimore. Those meetings will occur in the coming weeks.

“This extension accomplishes three important goals for AFTRA members,” said AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon. “It secures critical increases in minimums and health and retirement benefits in the middle of a tough economy. It moves this contract

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SAG And AFTRA Prep For Contract Talks

By | Wednesday June 2, 2010 @ 3:04pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Joint American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild Wages & Working Conditions meetings have been scheduled in preparation for negotiation of the AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical contract that expires on June 30, 2011. All members who work this contract are invited to attend and participate. W&W Committee meetings are open to all paid-up members of both unions; participation is limited only by fire department regulations.
If you are not located in L.A. but will be visiting from out of town, please feel free to attend. Come early and bring your membership card.
Attention members who are actively producing: AFTRA and SAG members who are actively producing cannot attend the W&W Committee Meetings due to a conflict of interest. However, you are welcome to attend the evening W&W caucuses. Please check the union websites and for caucus dates and times.
W&W Committee Meetings Scheduled in Los Angeles:
AFTRA Frank Maxwell Boardroom and SAG Cagney Boardroom
5757 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
June 16, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., SAG Boardroom
June 18, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., SAG Boardroom
June 21, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom
June 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom
June 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom

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WGA East Ratifies New Pact With ABC News

By | Monday May 10, 2010 @ 2:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Under the terms of the agreement, which were announced on April 9, WGAE-ABC employees will receive wage increases of at least 2% per year in each year of the contract. The first increase will be retroactive to April 12, 2010. In addition, for the first time, the contract provides a substantial minimum salary and enhanced severance package for writers who produce shows for WABC-TV, as well as a training stipend for WABC-TV newswriters if any are laid off because of a change in the seniority list (no such layoffs are in the works). Several other payments to members, including the promo/continuity availability fee and acting editor fee, have been increased. In addition, the WGAE gave ABC greater flexibility in work assignments in return for improved job security protections for any members who might be affected.

“We are happy to have secured a contract for that provides our members with wage increases and innovative job protections and happy they have overwhelmingly ratified this contract,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Our members’ ratification of this contract ensures that they will remain integral to ABC News’ success as the broadcast news business transforms in the coming years.”

“News and information delivered with accuracy and perspective have never been more vital to the survival of our democracy. With that as an underlying principle, our negotiating committee worked diligently on behalf of their fellow members at ABC News. Collaborating

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Writers Guild Endorses Partnership With New Association Of Media Composers & Lyricists Union; Progress Report Tonight On AMCL Joining Teamsters Local 399

By | Monday April 19, 2010 @ 5:44pm PDT

musicHere’s some advance news of tonight’s 2nd informational meeting of the Association of Media Composers and Lyricists, hosted by Teamsters Local 399 and located in the Writers Guild Theater. This composers’ movement towards unionization with the Teamsters for better benefits is gathering momentum and tonight there’ll be a progress report on efforts since the 1st get-together last November.  Presently, the AMCL Organizing Committee consists of: Bruce Broughton, Sean Callery, Alf Clausen, Ray Colcord, James DiPasquale, Richard Gibbs, Christopher Klatman, Vivek Maddala, Richard Marvin, Mike Post, and Snuffy Walden.

And I’m told that, at tonight’s meeting, big names like James Newton-Howard, Hans Zimmer, Tom Newman will be announced as strongly supporting the unionization effort by composers with Teamsters Local 399. “Musicians are a community and we have to protect each other,” Zimmer, who recently met with Teamsters’ lead organizer Steve Dayan and spokesman Bruce Broughton in the composer’s office at Remote Control Productions, stated publicly today. “I think we older composers, I think I am an older composer now (reluctantly I say this!), it is our duty to help the young composers. Otherwise the music will just disappear.” In other AMCL news:

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) Executive Committee has unanimously approved a series of actions endorsing the fledgling AMCL composers union and designed to address working conditions for composers in the area of free/spec music requested by producers as part of a “spec-off” or “bake-off” competition among finalists for a scoring job.

The AMCL’s pact with the WGA is

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Writers Guild East And ABC Reach Accord On New 3-Year Contract For Newswriters

By | Friday April 9, 2010 @ 6:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

I was out for a couple hours, but wanted to post news that the WGA East announced this today:

NEW YORK CITY – The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) and ABC, Inc. have reached tentative agreement on a new contract for the WGAE-ABC news employees. The agreement, which was recommended by the WGAE-ABC Negotiating Committee, is subject to approval by the WGAE Council and a ratification vote by members covered by the contract. Approximately 250 newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists and researchers in national and local television and radio in New York and Washington, D.C are affected.

“The tentative agreement achieves our goals of protecting our members’ economic interests and ensuring that the Guild and its members remain central to the company’s operation as the broadcast news business is transformed in coming years,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Given the depressed state of the international economy in general and the difficulties in broadcast news in particular, we are pleased this contract gives our members a wage increase and provides job protections.”

Under the terms of the tentative agreement, WGAE-ABC employees would receive wage increases of at least 2% per year in each year of the contract. The first increase would take place on April 12, 2010. In addition, for the first time, the contract provides a substantial minimum salary and enhanced severance package for writers who produce shows for WABC-TV, as

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Assoc Of Media Composers & Lyricists Exit

By | Wednesday March 31, 2010 @ 9:19pm PDT

I just received official notification that, on April 1st, Alan Elliott is resigning from the Organizing Committee of the Association of Media Composers and Lyricists “after four years of dedicated service in advancing our unionization efforts” with Teamsters Local 399. “The Organizing Committee, in recognition of his many contributions in helping to bring composers and lyricists together with the Teamsters, thanks Alan for his devoted service. Signed, Bruce Broughton, Ray Colcord, Alf Clausen, James DiPasquale, Richard Gibbs, Christopher Klatman, Vivek Maddala, Mike Post.”

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SAG National Board Votes To “Seek Engagement” With AFTRA To Bargain Jointly On Next TV/Theatrical Contract

By | Sunday January 31, 2010 @ 9:56pm PST

The SAG National Board of Directors met via videoconference in Los Angeles and New York:

SAGLos Angeles, (January 31, 2010) – Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted today to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract. Approved 82 to 18 percent, the resolution states:

“It was moved and seconded that in light of SAG’s historically productive negotiating partnership with AFTRA, the SAG National Board of Directors directs President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract, under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations. President Howard and NED White shall bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity.”

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, “I am very pleased with the vote and thank the Board for their leadership and foresight on this important issue. I so appreciate the Board’s cooperative spirit in this discussion and throughout the day, and feel confident that our Guild is moving in the right direction.”

In other actions, the National Board voted unanimously to create a National Performance Capture Committee to address the unique concerns and experiences of members who render performances that are recorded using “performance capture” technology across all media, and to advise the Guild on all matters pertaining to work in this rapidly growing area.

The board also approved

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A Heartwarming Hollywood Holiday Story

By | Friday December 18, 2009 @ 3:16am PST

jjingle bellsI’m told that Carol Kravitz, the production coordinator of the cable TV show Breaking Bad, just launched a holiday giving campaign on the Production Coordinators’ 411 Google group. Working members of her Local 871 made contributions to pay the minimum IA dues of those other members experiencing difficult financial times. Already, Kravitz’s campaign has raised over $3,000 in 2 days from both Local 871 members and others to cover the $54.35 dues of over 50 members.

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Union Targets NBC Rockefeller Center Xmas Special Because Of Stalled Talks

By | Tuesday December 1, 2009 @ 3:44pm PST

rockefeller_center_treeNearly 3,000 of the network’s producers, writers and technicians are accusing NBC of failing to bargain fairly with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) Local 11 in New York. So now the union has targeted NBC’s 12th annual “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” special scheduled to air Wednesday. The union launched a new website today,, that it says highlights the “Grinch” within NBC. Local 11 president Ed McEwan said in a statement the union is angry about stalled negotiations for a new contract. NABET-CWA’s prior contract expired in March, and there has been very little progress since talks began more than a year ago. In the meantime, McEwan says management has grown increasingly hostile, ignoring the concerns of the union’s membership. “Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, but the network’s management is trying to hide behind their fancy lights while leaving their employees in the dark.” The union says its principal goal is to protect job security from the network’s attempts to dismantle how technical work is assigned, so that NBC’s employees who primarily perform those tasks are allowed in the bargaining unit. “This would protect NBC’s flexibility by letting non-union employees do technical work, provided it doesn’t become their primary job,” said McEwan. NBC-logo-RGB-pos2“This is an enlightened way forward for both the company and the union. It provides job security for our members and flexibility for NBC … Read More »

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AFTRA Fall Plenary: Only Affected Members Can Vote To Ratify Video Game Contract Extension

By | Saturday October 24, 2009 @ 10:29pm PDT

LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (October 24, 2009) — The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) met today by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York.

The AFTRA National Board approved that the tentative agreement with the video game industry for an extension to the AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement, which is currently set to expire on December 31, 2009, be sent out for ratification by a referendum vote of the affected members who perform work under the contract. The Board is sending out the referendum with an overwhelming and strong recommendation for a yes vote on the new terms. The AFTRA Interactive Media Steering Committee, which is made up of members around the country who work this agreement, and the AFTRA Administrative Committee previously approved and recommended to the Board the tentative agreement, which was reached with video game employers in early October. If ratified, the 15-month extension will take effect on January 1, 2010, and remain in full force until March 31, 2011.

The extension delivers a 2.5 percent wage increase and a 0.2 percent increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, both effective April 1, 2010, and a new liquidated damages payment provision to incentivize employers to give notice of vocally stressful work – the first-ever such payment under any union contract. The agreement also preserves the extra “Remote Delivery” payment for performers – currently 135 percent of the original session fee – and establishes a

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UPDATE: Now Ken Howard To Video Conference With Sunday’s Membership Meeting? David White To Be Hired Without Official Search Or Vetting

By | Saturday October 17, 2009 @ 3:11am PDT

Egyptian TheaterSAG_logo

UPDATE: This just in — SAG sources claim arrangements have been made for Ken Howard to participate for part of Sunday’s meeting with membership via video conference. As of Friday night, Ken Howard was not attending or chairing his first National Plenary as SAG’s newly elected president. He told SAG leadership he had a previous charity engagement that he couldn’t break. He also was not attending or chairing the annual membership meeting Sunday afternoon. One of the issues when Howard was running for the presidency was that he didn’t attend enough SAG board meetings.

And David White will be offered a 2-year contract to move from interim to permanent as SAG’s National Executive Director and take on the additional title of Chief Negotiator. This, even though he’s always claimed to the board and media that he didn’t want the gig on a permanent basis. I guess he’s changed his mind since SAG is paying him at least $400,000+ annually. And, to date, he still hasn’t ever been vetted by the board since that was deliberately bypassed when he was put in the job temporarily. And the SAG leadership majority also will ignore the fact that traditionally a search committee is constituted for this job. There’s even less transparency now then ever at SAG.

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Carol Lombardini Named AMPTP President

By | Thursday October 15, 2009 @ 11:40am PDT

amptp_logo_newLOS ANGELES – Veteran negotiator Carol Lombardini has been named President of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the industry’s bargaining representative in labor negotiations with the motion picture industry Guilds and Unions in the United States and Canada.

Lombardini has played an instrumental role in the more than 300 major Guild and Union contracts negotiations over the course of her 27-year career at AMPTP. As AMPTP President, Lombardini will serve as the industry’s chief negotiator on more than 80 industry-wide collective bargaining agreements on behalf of over 350 motion picture and television producers.

“On behalf of the AMPTP Member Companies, we are very pleased that Carol will be the next President of the AMPTP,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “She has a proven track record as a negotiator, deep knowledge of labor issues and excellent relationships throughout the industry with guilds, unions and the member companies alike. With almost three decades of experience at the AMPTP, we are confident that Carol’s transition will be smooth and that she will be the strong leader these changing times require.”

Lombardini was named Acting President in April 2009 following the retirement of former President Nick Counter. Lombardini has subsequently negotiated new collective bargaining agreements with Screen Actors Guild (Television Animation), Teamsters Local 399 (Location Managers), IATSE 839, IATSE 764, BC Council and Directors Guild of Canada. Since joining the AMPTP in 1982, Lombardini has served as Counsel; Vice President,

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SAG Hollywood Re-Elects Anne Marie Johnson 1st Vice President; SAG NY Elects Mike Hodge 2nd VP

By | Thursday October 8, 2009 @ 12:40pm PDT


Los Angeles (Oct. 7, 2009) – The Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Division Board of Directors and New York Division Board of Directors elected the union’s 1st vice president and 2nd vice president on Monday. The Hollywood Division Board re-elected by acclamation Anne-Marie Johnson to the position of 1st vice president of Screen Actors Guild. The 1st vice president also serves as chair of the Hollywood Division Board. The New York Division Board elected Division President Mike Hodge to the position of 2nd vice president.

1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson said, “I am honored to have been re-elected 1st vice president of the Screen Actors Guild and I hope to continue to help lead with honesty, inclusion and determination. We are and will be facing extraordinary challenges and it is my responsibility, as SAG’s 1st V.P., to do my best to continue to put the concerns and well being of SAG members first.

“I would again like to thank and express my deepest appreciation to Alan Rosenberg for his tireless dedication and love for this union, and to Connie Stevens for her hard work on behalf of the members. I look forward to serving alongside President Ken Howard, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and the newly elected and returning SAG board members. For the union’s sake, I hope we find that we have more in common with regard to the future of the Screen Actors Guild than it may appear.”

New York Division President and 2nd … Read More »

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SAG & AFTRA Reach Tentative Pact With Some Video Game Companies

By | Friday October 2, 2009 @ 3:50pm PDT

Los Angeles (October 2, 2009) — Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today announced they have reached tentative agreements with video game companies on new contracts. The agreements — which become effective upon ratification and remain in full force until March 30, 2011 – achieve parity between the AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild contracts and include contemporaneous expiration dates of March 30, 2011.

In addition, the contracts deliver a 3 percent wage increase upon ratification for SAG, thereby bringing SAG’s wages into parity with AFTRA’s, and another 2.5 percent increase on April 1, 2010, for both unions. Both pacts contain increases in benefit contributions and a liquidated damages provision to incentivize employers to give notice of vocally stressful work.

The contracts also establish a new category of performance for “atmospheric voices” that is designed to increase work opportunities for union performers  by allowing Producers the flexibility to record multiple minor character voices in a single session. The agreements also establish a cap of $125,000 on contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement and SAG Pension and Health funds. The cap will only apply to performers who are paid more than $125,000 by a single producer in a single year for work done on the same game franchise.

The tentative agreements must be approved by Screen Actors Guild’s National Board of Directors and the AFTRA Administrative Commitee, both of which will meet in the coming weeks.

Highlights of these agreements include:

  • The achievement of parity between the

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WGAW SPLIT TICKET: Wells Elected Prez, Schulman VP, Weiss S-T; Also Verrone, Rodman, Wilcox, Burstyn, Ray, Schwartz, Johannessen, Eastlake, Deitchman

By | Friday September 18, 2009 @ 4:59pm PDT

WGAW Winners

WGAW-LogoOnly 2,348 valid ballots were cast, which sounds puny. But this was one of the largest election voter turnouts in WGAW history. Interestingly, outgoing president Patric Verrone, who termed out, received more votes than any of the candidates running. John Wells is the new president (again) after winning with 52.8% of the vote vs Elias Davis’ 47.2%; It was Davis ally Tom Schulman 55.5% vs Wells slate member Howard Michael Gould 44.5% for vice president. And current VP and Elias slate member David N. Weiss 53.3% vs Wells ally Christopher Keyser 46.7% for secretary-treasurer. Wells supported all nine board winners while Davis had supported all but two (Ian Deitchman and Steven Schwartz.) (I’ll have an analysis on Saturday.)  

LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has announced the final results of its 2009 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election.

The following members were elected to serve as Officers: President – John Wells; Vice President – Tom Schulman; Secretary-Treasurer – David N. Weiss.

“I’m remarkably humbled by the membership returning me to the Presidency of the Guild. I look forward to working with the Board again and to working with David Young and his talented staff to meet the many challenges that lie ahead,” said Wells.

“My congratulations to John Wells for his success in a hard-fought campaign. And my congratulations to all members elected to the board. We writers

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