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August 8, 2009

Mail for SAG Members

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 1:49 pm
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Message from Interim National Executive Director David White


August 7, 2009
 

Dear Screen Actors Guild member,
 
Ballots for the tentative agreement recently reached on a Basic Cable Live Action successor contract were mailed on Wednesday, August 5, to all eligible members.
 
As you may know, on July 25, 2009, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted 95% to 5% to recommend this contract for your approval.
 
Your ballot will be arriving in your mailbox soon and we have also posted the referendum packet online <http://www.sag.org/2009BasicCable.pdf> . Please review the materials and contact us if you have any questions. You can reach us by email at contract2009@sag.org and by telephone at the national contracts hotline at (323) 549-6665.

Please be sure your voice is heard and mail your ballot in the envelope provided in time for it to be received at the post office box in Everett, Washington no later than 5 p.m. PDT on August 26, 2009.
 
In unity and looking forward,
 
 
David White
Interim National Executive Director

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June 10, 2009

SAG Voting Results

Here’s how the YES votes tallied up at a glance:

National Membership: 78%
Hollywood Membership: 70% (so much for Hollywood is voting NO)
NY and the Branches 85%
Total voter turnout:  35+%


SAG Ratify TV/Theatrical Agreements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Screen Actors Guild Members Overwhelmingly Ratify TV/Theatrical Agreements


Los Angeles, (June 9, 2009)Screen Actors Guild announced today that members have voted overwhelmingly to approve its TV/Theatrical contracts by a vote of 78 percent to 22 percent.
 
The two-year successor agreement covers film and digital television programs, motion pictures and new media productions. The pact becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. June 10, 2009 and expires June 30, 2011.
 
The contracts provide more than $105 million in wages, increased pension contributions, and other gains and establishes a template for SAG coverage of new media formats.
 
Approximately 110,000 SAG members received ballots of which 35.26 percent returned them – a return that is above average compared with typical referenda on Screen Actors Guild contracts. Integrity Voting Systems of Everett, WA, provided election services and tonight certified the final vote tally upon completion of the tabulation.
 
The vote count in the Hollywood Division was 70.70 percent to 29.30 percent in favor. In the New York Division, the vote count was 85.74 percent to 14.26 percent in favor. And in the Regional Branch Division, the vote count was 89.06 percent to 10.94 percent in favor.
 
Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg said, “The membership has spoken and has decided to work under the terms of this contract that many of us, who have been involved in these negotiations from the beginning, believe to be devastatingly unsatisfactory. Tomorrow morning I will be contacting the elected leadership of the other talent unions with the hope of beginning a series of pre-negotiation summit meetings in preparation for 2011. I call upon all SAG members to begin to ready themselves for the battle ahead,” Rosenberg added.
 
Screen Actors Guild Interim National Executive Director David White said, “This decisive vote gets our members back to work with immediate pay raises and puts SAG in a strong position for the future. Preparation for the next round of negotiations begins now. Our members can expect more positive changes in the coming months as we organize new work opportunities, repair and reinvigorate our relationships with our sister unions and industry partners, and continue to improve the Guild’s operations.”
 
Screen Actors Guild Chief Negotiator John McGuire said, “I want to thank the SAG members and staff who dedicated their time to the negotiations process. We emerged with a solid deal that the members have now voted up. The negotiating team worked tirelessly, building on the work of the first negotiating committee, to deliver these improvements to members.”
 
Screen Actors Guild began talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on April 15, 2008.  Guild Chief Negotiator John McGuire, Interim National Executive Director David White, and Deputy National Executive Director for Contracts Ray Rodriguez, working with a 10-person negotiating task force comprised of Screen Actors Guild board members and officers representing the three divisions, reached the tentative agreement on April 16, 2009 after 12 months of periodic negotiations with the motion picture studios and television networks.
 
For further information on the new contract, including the full text and a summary of the agreement, click here <http://www.sag.org/tvtheatrical-negotiations> .  

ACTORS RESPOND TO CONTRACT RATIFICATION

Tony Shalhoub, actor
“This is a great decision for SAG and I’m so appreciative of everything the new leadership is doing to put the Guild back on track. They’ve obviously got the right ideas for making SAG stronger.”

Stephen Collins, actor
“This contract passed because members knew it was time to take advantage of the gains our negotiators won and get back to work. On top of that, they understood that risking our ability to negotiate alongside AFTRA and the other unions in the 2011 negotiations would have been a huge mistake.  It’s a great day for SAG.”

Sam Freed, actor, 2nd National Vice President
“This decision by the membership marks the end of a very long process.  We can now move forward with a new sense of certainty.”

Sue-Anne Morrow, actor, National Board Member representing New York
“This is a good deal with good gains. SAG’s members clearly agree. It’s about time we got a raise. I’m so pleased that SAG’s members exercised their right to be heard and said ‘Yes!’.”

Mike Hodge, actor, National Board Member representing New York
“I am extremely pleased that we have finally come to the close of a long, unproductive period. I am hopeful that we can heal our wounds and really start the work to become a unified, national union.”

Nancy Duerr, actor, National Board Member representing SAG Florida Branch
“This is a victory for SAG performers across our region. Stalled and delayed productions can now get underway, boosting our local economies. This contract not only puts more money in members’ pockets, it preserves the high standards of working conditions our members have come to expect.”

Todd Hissong, actor, Chicago Branch President, National Board Member
“By passing this referendum, Chicago members have sent a clear message that we want to get back to work. Screen Actors Guild members across the country have yet again demonstrated our grasp of the issues, the importance of unionism, and our need to stand together with our sister unions to make deals that benefit us all.”

David Hartley-Margolin, Colorado actor, SAG 3rd Vice President
“The membership always has the last word when it comes to contract matters. They have spoken. Their endorsement of the deal with the AMPTP ends the uncertainty that has been hovering over us and allows Screen Actors Guild and the industry to move forward together.”

June 7, 2009

Voting No!

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 10:47 am
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Remember a failure to vote, on this THE WORST CONTRACT IN SAG HISTORY, is the same as a ‘Yes’ Vote!

Here is chance to examine in detail one of the New Media provisions that Sally Field says “will pave the way the way for the future.”

Now the $15,000 dollar a minute threshold to determine if a new media production is union or non-union has been widely debated.  Those in favor of the contract ballyhoo the fact that even if it is under that $15,000 dollar a minute threshold, if it has one ‘covered’ performer it becomes a union production.  Most members immediately assume that they’ll get paid the same as they do under traditional media.  Ahhhh, NO!.

  Let’s go to the contract on that one, page 5 under compensation…

“All terms and conditions of employment, including initial compensation and deferred compensation, if any, will be subject to negotiation between the Producer and the individual performer…”

  So, it may be a SAG UNION contract but when it comes to being paid, there are no minimums except those mandated by the state. 

So, here you are on a new media production with say a name actor like Jason Priestley, who according to the Hollywood reporter will be doing a new online series for WB.com called “The Lake”–and he could be making thousands of dollars a week, and you could be working for state minimum.  Of course, that minimum could also cover “deferred payment,” as stipulated in under the REUSE Clause on page 7 of the contract. 

 
Initial compensation for a Derivative New Media Production shall constitute payment for thirteen (13) consecutive weeks on all free-to-the-consumer, advertise-supported platforms transmitted via New Media…”

 
Now, I ask you what is the real difference between working under a SAG contract with these provisions and working non-union?

But Tom Hanks says “it’s a smart contract,” and Sally Fields say, “It paves the way for the future.”  Well, yes Tom it is a smart contract for a producer like you, and, yes, it does pave the way for the future.  But it is not a future that will allow rank and file actors to make a living as professional actors.

If you have not already voted there still may be time.  But you must get your ballot in NOW!

 ((Ballots must be received at the assigned post office box in Everett , Washington by Tuesday, June 9 at 5 PM. (PDT)

  A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief 

 
To see the election tallies that AFTRA doesn’t want you to see, go to http://www.sagwatchdog.com

 

Remember a failure to vote, on this THE WORST CONTRACT IN SAG HISTORY, is the same as a ‘Yes’ Vote!

Here is chance to examine in detail one of the New Media provisions that Sally Field says “will pave the way the way for the future.”

Now the $15,000 dollar a minute threshold to determine if a new media production is union or non-union has been widely debated.  Those in favor of the contract ballyhoo the fact that even if it is under that $15,000 dollar a minute threshold, if it has one ‘covered’ performer it becomes a union production.  Most members immediately assume that they’ll get paid the same as they do under traditional media.  Ahhhh, NO!.

  Let’s go to the contract on that one, page 5 under compensation…

“All terms and conditions of employment, including initial compensation and deferred compensation, if any, will be subject to negotiation between the Producer and the individual performer…”

  So, it may be a SAG UNION contract but when it comes to being paid, there are no minimums except those mandated by the state. 

So, here you are on a new media production with say a name actor like Jason Priestley, who according to the Hollywood reporter will be doing a new online series for WB.com called “The Lake”–and he could be making thousands of dollars a week, and you could be working for state minimum.  Of course, that minimum could also cover “deferred payment,” as stipulated in under the REUSE Clause on page 7 of the contract. 

 
Initial compensation for a Derivative New Media Production shall constitute payment for thirteen (13) consecutive weeks on all free-to-the-consumer, advertise-supported platforms transmitted via New Media…”

 
Now, I ask you what is the real difference between working under a SAG contract with these provisions and working non-union?

But Tom Hanks says “it’s a smart contract,” and Sally Fields say, “It paves the way for the future.”  Well, yes Tom it is a smart contract for a producer like you, and, yes, it does pave the way for the future.  But it is not a future that will allow rank and file actors to make a living as professional actors.

If you have not already voted there still may be time.  But you must get your ballot in NOW!

 ((Ballots must be received at the assigned post office box in Everett , Washington by Tuesday, June 9 at 5 PM. (PDT)

  A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief 

 
To see the election tallies that AFTRA doesn’t want you to see, go to http://www.sagwatchdog.com

June 3, 2009

Yes or No

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 1:02 pm
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Greetings Fellow Member:

Please get your SAG tv/theatrical ballot from your stack of mail, mark it YES, and send it first thing tomorrow.  Let’s not just pass this contract – let’s make it an overwhelming YES.  There is a misconception in our industry that the Hollywood members of our national union, Screen Actors Guild, are voting no.  There are many of us who proudly call Hollywood our home and we are voting YES – here is a link to a video of some of the Hollywood folks voting YES:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1SkgXhLHqY


Please vote now.

 

SAG Sets Informational Meetings re TV/Theatrical Aggreement (MAY 8, 2009)

 

Friday, May 8, 2009

SAG Sets Informational Meetings re TV/theatrical Agreement

 

The TV/theatrical ballots will go out May 19 (about ten days from now) and are due back by mail on June 9. SAG has set members-only informational meetings on the proposed contract. The LA meeting is sure to have fireworks, since the leaders of the Membership First faction, based in LA, oppose the proposed deal.

Supporting the deal are SAG staff and the SAG National Board, including SAG’s moderate majority leadership, comprised of the LA-based Unite for Strength faction, LA independent board member Morgan Fairchild, and most or all of the NY and regional board members.

The deal can be ratified by a simple majority (i.e., 50% + 1) of those members voting. If ratified, the agreement would end an over 10-month stalemate.

The details of the meetings are in an email to members (see below).
 

———————

Email to SAG members:

Dear Screen Actors Guild member,

As you know, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted April 19, 2009, to approve and recommend to members, new, two-year successor agreements to the 2005 Producer-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement and 2005 Screen Actors Guild Television Agreement.

Ballots will be mailed to all eligible members on May 19, 2009. Ballots must be mailed in the return envelope provided and received at the Everett, WA, post office box no later than 5:00 p.m. (PDT) June 9, 2009. Ballots received after this deadline, or at a location other than the post office box, will not be counted.

We are holding member informational meetings so that you can hear about the tentative agreement and ask questions. Member informational meetings are scheduled for Hollywood and New York as follows and will be announced for Branch locations next week.

HOLLYWOOD
Thursday, May 21, 2009
7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Renaissance Hollywood Hotel
Hollywood Ballroom
1755 N. Highland Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028

PARKING: No-host self parking at Hollywood & Highland – validation available at the Hollywood & Highland complex: $2 for 4 hours when you are validated in any shop, restaurant or theatre that is part of the mall. Guild not responsible for illegally parked vehicles.

NEW YORK
Monday, June 1, 2009
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Directors Guild of America
110 West 57th Street (between 6th & 7th Aves.) New York, New York

Unfortunately, no guests will be allowed. Parents/guardians of younger performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru April 30, 2009). For more information call the National TV/Theatrical Contracts Hotline (323) 549-6665 or email contract2009@sag.org.

Member informational meetings are also planned for Branch locations across the country. More information on Branch member informational meetings will be available shortly.

Please plan to attend the member informational meeting in your area to get important facts regarding the tentative agreement. Screen Actors Guild negotiators, national board members and staff experts will be on hand to provide a thorough overview of the tentative agreement.

You can also find more information on the upcoming referendum, including details of the tentative agreement, by visiting the TV/Theatrical Contracts Center at http://www.sag.org or by emailing contract2009@sag.org.

We know how important this contract is to all Screen Actors Guild members. We urge you to stay informed by visiting http://www.sag.org often, attending the member informational meeting in your area and contacting us with questions and comments.

Watch for your ballot which is mailing May 19, 2009, and when you receive it, vote yes and return your ballot right away. Don’t delay, ballots must be received by June 9.

In unity,

David P. White
Interim National Executive Director

John T. McGuire
Chief Negotiator
Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors Strongly Recommends your “Yes” Vote on this contract. Let’s get back to work with a raise.

Variety: SAG, AFTRA mail out ballots: Members to Vote on New Commercials Pact (MAY 1, 2009)

 

SAG, AFTRA mail out ballots

Members to vote on new commercials pact

By DAVE MCNARY

 

SAG and AFTRA have launched their campaign to persuade about 150,000 members to approve the new commercials pact in what’s expected to be an easy ratification.

The unions mailed out the ratification ballots Thursday, followed by an email message Friday that disclosed plans for holding informational meetings in 18 cities. Ballots are due back by May 21.

Unlike the SAG feature-primetime contract, no opposition’s yet emerged to the commercials deal — which has received unanimous backing from the joint negotiating committee and the joint boards of the two unions.

“We believe this is a good and fair contract and we urge you to vote yes,” said SAG president Alan Rosenberg and AFTRA president Roberta Reardon at the conclusion of a letter to members. The letter was also signed by SAG interim national exec director David White and chief negotiator John McGuire along with AFTRA topper Kim Roberts Hedgpeth and chief negotiator Mathis Dunn.

Rosenberg has been fighting ratification of SAG’s deal, mainly on grounds that its new-media provisions fall short. Ballots for the SAG pact go out May 19 with a June 9 return date.

The commercials deal represents a $36 million pay hike in the first year of the contract and a $24 million increase in pension and health contributions over the pact’s three years. It also preserves the current pay-per-play Class A residuals structure while providing for a pilot study on new compenasation model based on ratings.

The commercials pact, which covers nearly $1 billion in annual blurb work, will be retroactive to April 1 and run through March 31, 2012. SAG and AFTRA staged a bitter six-month strike in 2000 against the ad industry, but the tough economic times plus a shift in control of SAG’s national board to a more moderate faction last fall provided strong indications that a commercials strike was unlikely.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003084.html

Variety: SAG Mailing Out Ballots May 19 – Guild To Vote on Feature-Primetime Contract (APR. 29, 2009)

 

SAG mailing out ballots May 19

Guild to vote on feature-primetime contract

By DAVE MCNARY

 

SAG will mail out its feature-primetime contract ratification ballots to members May 19, with a return date of June 9. That means nearly a year will have passed between the time the ballots will be tallied and the June 30, 2008, expiration of the previous contract.

SAG originally said it would send out ballots in early May, but the guild needed more time to prepare the pro and con statements going out with the ballot to its 120,000 members.

The year of the contract impasse has been marked by explosive internal battles over the pact, between the hardline Membership First faction and a moderate coalition that gained a narrow majority on the national board in the fall — including January’s firing of national exec director Doug Allen for allegedly botching negotiations. The two sides are jockeying for political leverage in the next round of SAG elections in September, with Membership First bitterly opposing the deal.

SAG’s national board approved the two-year deal April 19 with a 53% endorsement. Backers touted the pact for keeping SAG in synch with the DGA, WGA and AFTRA expirations in 2011, and bringing about much-needed stability plus pay raises to thesps, along with blasting Membership First for being unrealistic in its aggressive approach to negotiations.

For its part, Membership First staged a demonstration Wednesday in Pasadena to protest the hiring of an outside PR firm, Saylor Co., to persuade members to approve the contract agreement. About 60 attended the event, including Tony Danza and former SAG president Ed Asner.

Opponents of the deal have asserted that the growth of new-media precludes accepting the same template as the WGA, DGA and AFTRA. They’ve contended that voting the deal down would force the congloms to offer SAG better terms — though the congloms have insisted for the past year that they will not sweeten the deal.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118003002.html

VARIETY: SAG PR BATTLES BEGINS: GUILD MEMBERS TO GET PITCHES, BALLOTS (APR. 22, 2009)

 

SAG PR battle begins

Guild members to get pitches, ballots

By 

 

Supporters of SAG’s tentative feature-primetime deal are appealing to the guild’s middle-class actors — and blaming the hardliners for the delay — as the first salvos start in what’s expected to be a bitter battle over ratification of the pact.

Ballots will go out early next month, with a return date three weeks later; specific dates are not yet set. In a message sent Wednesday to New York members, SAG second VP Sam Freed contended the pact will dispel the pervasive ambiguity that’s dogged showbiz since SAG’s master contract expired nearly 10 months ago.

“Ratification will not only guarantee increases in terms and conditions but it will end the uncertainty that working without a contract has caused,” Freed said. “Production can gear up once again, and we can get back to work. The recent changes that your board has made are bearing fruit.”

Freed’s message is a clear swipe at opponents of the pact, led by SAG president Alan Rosenberg and the Membership First Coalition, who have insisted for the past year that SAG has to achieve sweeter terms than the other Hollywood unions — particularly in new media. Rosenberg’s repeatedly criticized the board moderates for failing to present a unified voice during the negotiations.

A moderate coalition gained control of the national board from the hardliners in the fall, fired Doug Allen as SAG topper in January for allegedly botching the negotiations and endorsed the new deal Sunday with 53.6% support. Freed noted that Allen’s replacements — David White as interim national exec director and John McGuire — had been able to persuade the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers to relent on its demand for a full three-year deal, keeping the expiration date of June 2011 in line with those for the DGA, WGA and AFTRA pacts.

“Because of the prolonged period of these negotiations, this contract has a term of only two years,” Freed said. “This was a hard-fought concession that will allow our contract to expire with our sister unions and permit the option of joint negotiations in the future.”

Meanwhile, the deal’s opponents are gearing up their antiratification campaign with a rally today outside the AMPTP headquarters, followed by a gathering at a yet-to-be-determined location during the May 2-3 weekend.

The proponents will likely point to the loss of an estimated $67 million in actor pay gains as a result of Membership First’s refusal to accept the AMPTP’s offer last summer.

Freed said the gains achieved in the deal go directly to the needs of the middle-class actor amid the recession.

“Raises in minimums, increases in major-role performer premiums and the increases in residuals for primetime series reruns represent real dollars in members’ pockets,” he said. “There is a 0.5% increase in pension and health contributions bringing the total contribution to 15%, a gain made even more significant given the state of our economy and the hits our funds have taken. Jurisdiction is awarded in new media with the establishment of a residual structure. A residual formula is created for movie and television downloads that represents an increase over the DVD formula.”

SAG’s deal includes a 3.5% annual hike in minimums — a 3% salary hike in the first year plus a 0.5% gain in pension and health contributions in the first year and a 3.5% salary increase in the second. AFTRA’s three-year deal, unsuccessfully opposed last summer by Rosenberg and Membership First, contains similar provisions but with an addititional year of increases.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118002748.html

DAVE MCNARY

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