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Joint SAG/AFTRA Board Okays AMPTP Deal; Pact Now Goes To Members For Voting

By | Saturday December 4, 2010 @ 2:39pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The vote by the Joint National Board of SAG and AFTRA comes a month after the two actors union reached a tentative new deal with AMPTP that includes a 2% wage increase a year, a 1.5% boost to health and pension plans and  the elimination of a long-standing provision that required first-class air travel for actors. The board is recommending the deal to the two unions’ membership that will now vote on it. Here is the joint SAG/AFTRA release.

Los Angeles (December 4, 2010) – The Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists today overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on November 7 – a deal which it is now recommending to the respective union memberships.

Eligible AFTRA and SAG members will vote on the proposed successor agreements to the Producer-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs; Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs; and the CW Supplement which applies to both unions.

The Board passed the motion to approve and send to the memberships a recommendation of a “yes” vote by 89.29 percent to 10.71 percent.

Ratification ballots will be mailed to all eligible AFTRA and SAG members in the coming days with an expected return date in mid-January. Due to the holidays, the time period for reviewing and returning ballots will be extended to five weeks (rather than the traditional three-week time period) in order to afford every member the opportunity to carefully review the terms of the proposed agreements before voting. Tabulation will occur immediately upon the conclusion of balloting.

Additionally, informational meetings for members will be scheduled in select cities across the country including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D. C.-Baltimore, San Francisco and Atlanta.

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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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SAG National Majority Increases Numbers In Results Of 2010 National Board Elections: Ex-SAG Prez Alan Rosenberg Loses Seat

2ND UPDATE: Hollywood can most likely expect a quick and easy negotiation when the Screen Actors Guild joins with AFTRA to negotiate with the studios and networks starting Monday. It also looks more than likely that SAG will merge with AFTRA soon. That’s because the so-called pro-moderation and pro-merger SAG National Majority — consisting of Unite For Strength (U4S) based in Hollywood and the United Screen Actors Nationwide (USAN) consisting of the NY Division and Regional reps — today strengthened its grip over the big actors union. Usually, those SAG candidates who are also well-known actors fare better in these guild elections. But today’s election results show that rival faction Membership First lost all 13 of its open seats on the 71-member national board, including such well-known incumbents as controversial ex-SAG president Alan Rosenberg, Nancy Sinatra, Valerie Harper, Frances Fisher, and Esai Morales. (Harper and Morales are Alternates.)

So, at least among the small percentage of SAG’s 125,000 membership that actually sent in ballots (less than in recent years), this was a clear repudiation of Membership First’s years of pursuing a hardball negotiating strategy against the AMPTP and a hardline stand against SAG merging with AFTRA.

Now U4S, which came to power just 2 years ago, and its national majority coalition have extended their margin of control over SAG’s policy-setting National Board to about 80% of the votes. UFS will also assume control of the Guild’s Hollywood Division Board, with 75% of the votes. Its better-known winning candidates included Ron Perlman, Gabrielle Carteris, Jeff Garlin, Michael O’Keefe for 3-year terms, and DW Moffett with a 1-year term.

“SAG members have spoken decisively and what they’re saying couldn’t be more clear – they voted for merger,” SAG president Ken Howard, a U4S member, said in a U4S-issued statement after election results were announced. “I’m looking forward to working with all the re-elected and newly elected board members, and our partners at AFTRA, to make one union happen.”

U4S leader Ned Vaughn, who remains just an Alternate for the SAG National Board, called it a “landslide affirmation of Unite for Strength’s goal of uniting SAG and AFTRA as a single performers’ union.” He noted that SAG’s Hollywood Division members today elected 13 U4S candidates to serve on the Guild’s National Board of Directors, and another 20 of the group’s candidates to serve on the SAG Hollywood Board. U4S candidates won 33 of the 35 total seats at stake in Hollywood. “All the candidates elected in the Guild’s New York and Regional Branch Divisions also support the move to one union.”

This coming Monday, SAG and AFTRA will begin jointly bargaining their TV/Theatrical Contract with the AMPTP for 7 weeks, followed by the DGA in mid-November. No date has yet been set for the WGA, whose contract ends May 1, 2011, but the moguls and the AMPTP intend to negotiate with the writers last to ensure there’s the most Hollywood pressure on them. At present, SAG/AFTRA and the DGA are trading information, but not with the WGA despite last year’s talk about all the Hollywood guilds cooperating. Both SAG/AFTRA and the DGA have made it their priority to achieve gains in health and pension, and much less so in wages and New Media. This, despite the fact that Big Media just reported bigger profits this past quarter and better forecasts for the rest of 2010 and also 2011.

The major election issue this time around was exactly how actors should be unionized. U4S and USAN are content to join with AFTRA as is and become one union. However, Membership First has long opposed a combined union with AFTRA because the smaller predominantly represents broadcasters and is simple to join. MF believes that instead all actors should belong to one big union.

But MF was demoralized and disorganized during this latest campaign so it’s no surprise it lost further ground. This was also the first SAG election under the non-disparagement gag order with AFTRA. So any open debate was nonexistent. Even the hot button issue of the SAG National Majority standing idly by last spring while AFTRA poached 38 new broadcast scripted TV series for the 2010-2011 season, compared to SAG’s single new show, never received attention. Read More »

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SAG And AFTRA Move To Negotiate Jointly Primetime TV & Theatrical Contracts

Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (Sept. 12, 2010) – The Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) today met by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York and approved a package of proposals for the upcoming Joint AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical Negotiations.
SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon will co-chair the negotiations. AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth and SAG National Executive Director David White will serve as the unions’ co-lead negotiators.
Joint negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are scheduled to commence on Sept. 27 at the AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

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SAG 1st VP Johnson: “Is It A 2% World?”

SAG’s 1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson has issued this statement 50 days before the TV/Theatical Negotiations start with the AMPTP, whose Big Media members just reported bigger profits this past quarter and better forecasts for the rest of 2010 and also 2011. (Every Studio & Network Boosted Earnings):

Hello Hollywood Members;

Well, SAG and AFTRA have completed the Wages and Working Condition meetings and caucuses. We are now about to enter the next phase before beginning formal negotiations on September 27th. Members of both SAG and AFTRA W&W committees will meet in a national plenary to go over the proposal package voted up unanimously on the last day of our joint w&w meetings. Negotiations are going to be a challenge. Especially considering the offer received and ultimately approved by the Teamsters. Is it a 2% world? Who knows. But SAG and AFTRA will do their best not be distracted by other unions’ issues and put the livelihood and security of our members, with our very unique needs, first.

As many of you have seen in press releases and in the media, AFTRA and SAG both created Presidents Forum to begin a serious dialogue regarding merger. And as many of you know, I’ve always believed that any official dialogue regarding merger, in the midst of negotiations, is too soon and a distraction. I believe both unions should look at our current joint negotiations as a litmus test for what could be the first step to eventually merger and place all of our collective energies towards working together to secure a contract that will provide both SAG and AFTRA members the opportunity to qualify for health care and support a family. But both unions have decided to move forward with regard to merger and it is now up to us, the member, to get involved with all phases of what will be a very long complicated process. Only with SAG membership involvement will SAG, the institution, be able to shape what kind of union will serve our members with the strength and advantages SAG members have experienced for the last 77 years.

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