Showbizreporting's Blog

December 8, 2009

SAG, AFTRA FACE DEADLINE

SAG, AFTRA face deadline
Unions must decide soon if they are to negotiate together
By DAVE MCNARY

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are facing a looming deadline within the next few months if they’re going to negotiate together on the primetime-feature contract with the majors.
The performers unions haven’t yet taken any formal steps toward joint bargaining, even with SAG obligated to begin seven weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on Oct. 1. The current SAG and AFTRA master contracts — negotiated separately for the first time in three decades — both expire on June 30, 2011.

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon has held informal discussions recently with SAG prexy Ken Howard about the issue. She admitted that a decision by AFTRA will probably be made before the end of the first quarter, given that both unions require several months for a “wages and working conditions” process of meetings with members to hammer out contract proposals prior to the start of bargaining.

“We’ve had a lot of internal discussion about joint negotiations but we haven’t formalized anything,” she told Daily Variety. “We would do it if it were something that’s to the advantage of all our members.”

SAG declined to comment on Reardon’s statements.

Reardon noted that AFTRA’s also facing looming expirations on two of its other major contracts — sound recordings, which expires June 30; and network code, which ends on Nov. 15. The AFTRA netcode pact covers about $400 million in annual earnings from dramatic programs in syndication or outside primetime, daytime serial dramas, gameshows, talkshows, variety and musical programs, news, sports, reality shows and promotional announcements.

“We have a little bit of a pileup in terms of scheduling,” Reardon added.

She also said that no definitive steps have been taken toward a SAG-AFTRA merger, voted down by SAG members in 1999 and 2003, indicating that combining the unions remains a long-term goal. “I got into AFTRA politics eight years ago because I believe that performers should be in a single union, but if we’re going to do that, we need to take the time to do it right,” she added.

Relations between SAG and AFTRA hit a low early last year when AFTRA angrily split off from joint negotiations over jurisdiction and reached its own primetime deal. SAG — which still hadn’t shifted control to the moderates — then blasted terms of the pact, which had a relatively low 62% ratification. With SAG not reaching a deal until a year later, AFTRA was able to sign up the lion’s share of this year’s TV pilots that were shot digitally.

In the fall of 2008, AFTRA and SAG agreed to a separate deal aimed at ending the bickering between the unions. Brokered by the AFL-CIO, the agreement included “nondisparagement” language along with fines and other discipline for violators; the unions then agreed to joint negotiations on the commercials contract and reached a new three-year deal with the ad industry last spring.

But the enmity toward AFTRA remains strong in some SAG quarters. Its Hollywood board passed a resolution in May to explore the “acquisition” of actors repped through AFTRA, leading to an AFL-CIO umpire warning SAG it would face “severe” fines for any further discussions of an “acquisition” and ordering the guild to officially disavow the statement.

SAG’s Membership First faction, which controls the Hollywood board, staunchly opposes any merger and contends that SAG should represent all acting work. Howard campaigned as the head of the Unite For Strength ticket, which explicitly advocates combining the unions.

“We should merge to create a single powerful union that covers all the work we do, making it impossible for our employers to divide us,” the faction has noted. “That’s what Unite for Strength is all about.”

SAG and AFTRA have shared jurisdiction over primetime series and the long-standing agreement has been that SAG reps all projects shot on film, while SAG and AFTRA have an equal shot at projects shot electronically. With more primetime skeins shot in high-def digital formats, AFTRA’s electronic purview has greatly expanded in the past two years as nearly all primetime pilots went AFTRA.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118012309.html?categoryId=13&cs=1

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October 20, 2009

AFTRA and SAG Approve Extension of Contracts Covering Non-Broadcast, Industrial and Educational Agreements

AFTRA and SAG Approve Extension of Contracts Covering Non-Broadcast, Industrial and Educational Agreements
By SOP newswire2

Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today that the AFTRA Administrative Committee and Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors have approved an 18-month extension to the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract and AFTRA Code of Fair Practice for Non Broadcast/Industrial/Educational Recorded Material. The contracts, which were set to expire on Oct. 29, 2009, will now be effective Nov. 1, 2009, to April 31, 2011.

In addition to the extended term, the agreement includes a 0.5% increase in employer contributions to the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension and Health Plans and AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, effective Nov. 1, 2009, and an important clarification that work produced under the contracts is not and never has been intended for the production of commercials.

Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard said, These contracts are critical to our members across the country and extending them gives us the opportunity to strategize ways to increase covered work under the agreements. The successful extension of the Industrial and Educational Contract directly reflects the continued importance of joint bargaining and allows our members to continue to work under a fair contract for the next year and a half, and with a bump to their pension and health. ”

Roberta Reardon, AFTRA National President praised the extension saying: Work under the Non-Broadcast/Industrial Code rarely grabs headlines or elevates performers to celebrity status. It does something far more important: it provides steady employment for thousands of union members in small and large markets across the nation. This extension will keep our members working, increase their opportunities to qualify for health and retirement benefits and will permit our unions the opportunity to organize more work for more members under this contract. ”

We`re glad to have achieved this extension jointly with AFTRA and look forward to joint negotiations again on the Industrial and Educational Contract in 2011, ” said Ray Rodriguez, the Screen Actors Guild deputy national executive director who oversees contracts.

The increase in employer contributions to our health and retirement plans, along with the confirmation by the industry that the Non-Broadcast Code cannot be used for commercial production are important achievements in this extension agreement, ” said Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., Chief Negotiator for AFTRA.

The extension agreement was negotiated by both unions under the terms of the AFL-CIO facilitated Joint Commercials Contracts Negotiating Agreement, which governs the bargaining and administration of the 2009-2012 Commercials contracts, and was expanded earlier this summer to cover the 2009 negotiation of the AFTRA Non-Broadcast/Industrial Contract and the SAG Industrial and Educational Contract. The Chief Negotiator for the Industry Lee W. Gluckman Jr., who represented the employers in the negotiations said, This extended agreement will quite beneficial to producers and their clients in growing production. The “no commercials here` clarification is also an important addition to the contract. ”

The SAG and AFTRA contracts cover performers rendering on-camera and voiceover services in sales programs, educational and training videos, informational and promotional messages seen in stores and video included in certain consumer products, and other projects that are exhibited outside of the traditional broadcast arena (with AFTRA`s contract also covering audio-only content, such as telephone messages and sound included in consumer products).

About SAG
Screen Actors Guild is the nation`s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists` rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 120,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors` working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists` rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.

About AFTRA
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at http://www.aftra.com.

http://thesop.org/entertainment/2009/10/16/aftra-and-sag-approve-extension-of-contracts-covering-nonbroadcast-industrial-and-educational-agreements

October 7, 2009

ATTN: INTERACTIVE V.O. Meeting — Show up or Shut Up

Dear Friends,

This is for those of us who work in interactive voice-overs. There is an important meeting at SAG on Oct 13th at 7pm. Significant changes for better or worse could be in store for us. Too bad for us if we don’t show up to this meeting.

In interactive v.o., we have two contracts with two unions for the same territory that are out of sync, so significant gains are pretty much impossible. Producers can easily play one union against the other, or choose to only sign with one union to cripple the other’s bargaining abilities, all of which we have now with interactive v.o. If we continue without intelligently merging our unions, I feel this is the future for all other contracts.

On to the meeting: The good news is that our two unions have heard us and have come together and bargained a new interactive agreement with modest gains with a re-sync’ed end date, which I feel is a significant and much needed gain. However, there is a new feature in this proposal that those of us who work in interactive must take a careful look and and let BOTH our unions know our feelings on. If our attendance is as paltry as it was at the informational SAG interactive caucus was a few weeks ago, this change will be passed by both our unions’ boards whether we like it or not.

Even though SAG has pretty much lost all animation and interactive v.o. work over the past few years, they are at least holding a second informational meeting over this new SAG/AFTRA tentative interactive agreement. If you work this contract, you need to be there and listen and speak up. In particular, there is concern over a new feature producers want called “atmospheric voices” which BOTH our unions need to hear our opinions on. I believe there is a pro and a con to this concept and I’ll try to lay the two sides out as fairly as I can:

“Atmospheric voices,” as I understand it, allows for producers to record many more individual voices per session fee and an infinite number of different voices for only a double session fee, where the number of voices we can perform are significantly restricted with our current contract. It seems the argument for this new category is that games with greater numbers of voices, such as MMORPG’s like “World of Warcraft” which have literally hundreds of voices in a game, will be enticed to sign up union voice talent (WoW is non-union as are other mega-voice games). More games like this are on the way in the future, the argument goes, and with this new feature in the contract, more big games could choose to go union, and this could potentially mean a lot of new work for union voice actors. Many such games that feature a great number of incidental characters are populated with characters that say only a few sentences anyway (a vendor, a page, a merchant, a citizen, someone you happen to bump into etc), not a ton of vocal work per incidental for the most part, the argument goes. With the addition of the “atmospheric voices” provision, big games of the future which would have remained non-union would turn union, sign more union actors for more work. Win win. At least, that’s the pro pitch, as I understand it. As a gamer, I’d say this could possibly change some big v.o. games to “go union.” Possibly. And that could be a significant amount of work. I would also say that the evolution of gaming cuts both ways, with the “next gen” titles (Xbox360 and PS3 and some Wii “portages”) needing to sound increasingly “cinematic” and professional (union), but “low-res” and retro gaming (iPhone, Wii, DS, etc) are expanding possibly faster (voice acting here probably tends to be more non-union in cheaper games if there is any voice work at all). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the top selling next-gen games mostly use union v.o. talent. Could be wrong there, though. Most games I believe are non-union and for many games (some might say most) the voice acting is not nearly as important as game play and game design, if it is a factor at all. Frankly, I’d like more data on all this and hardly any was presented at the last SAG interactive caucus. I don’t think that most of our negotiators are gamers and I’m not sure they necessarily know video games or that biz. As someone who not only works in interactive v.o. but is also a fairly active gamer, I am honestly not sure about this pro argument. I admit the possibility of populating future iterations of games like “World of Warcraft” with all union voice actors could potentially mean a lot of work for us. Most of the voice work in that particular game strikes me as pretty “light duty.” Modest gains with re-sync’ing the contracts is great. Okay, that’s the pro.

The con argument is that “atmospheric voices” simply gives up what little firewall protection our interactive contract already provides and just gets us less money for essentially more work. The number of voices we currently perform for scale (most of the work in this realm is scale, if it is union at all) is restricted as it is in television animation, where producers are required to pay essentially for very few voices, although the session can last four hours even for one voice. Certainly there is merit to this restriction for game v.o. work, although you’d be hard pressed to find an 11 or even 22 minute t.v. cartoon with literally hundreds of individual voices. The comparison of games to t.v. only partially holds. The con argument sees an easy opportunity to further work union voice actors to death in a realm where (unlike television animation) we are already worked to death as it is- with no residuals, potentially four hours of working solo, and often to the point of blowing out your voice with screaming or yelling without some kind of “hazard pay.” Game work is also often much more demanding and punishing than television voice work. In fact, the only worse union contract might be SAG’s anime dubbing agreement (another multi-billion dollar industry where the union contract is long hours with no residuals– most of the work here is also non-union). Despite resync’ing the contracts between SAG and AFTRA and other modest gains, this “atmospheric voices” feature is potentially a massive give away and cannot be allowed– at least that’s the con argument.

Frankly, I think both sides have points and the fact that these contracts are re-sync’ed means that when they expire (I think it’s in a couple years) if this “atmospheric voices” thing is abused and we don’t like it, we can kill it– assuming our unions are either bargaining together or merged, which may not be the case, though it looks better these days. Perhaps opening up “World of Warcraft” type games to union work would bring us a ton a new work, each such game is like a country that we could populate with union voice actors instead of non-union. Or it could make an already problematic contract even more punishing and difficult for less pay. I honestly think there can be a discussion about this (not a screaming match). Let’s make an informed decision as a community.

But there can be no discussion without any of us showing up to listen and talk on October 13th.

One thing I do know: if the interactive v.o. community chooses shows up in such pathetic numbers as we’ve seen recently, this will pass, whether it is a good idea or not. We must let both our unions know our opinion, not just SAG (the one producers have abandoned) but AFTRA as well– they are set to sign off on this on Oct 14th, as I understand it. Either both must pass or both must reject, but it should be with our community’s input.

Please show up.

Thanks

Dee

—-

Attend an Informational Meeting Regarding the Tentative Agreement for the
2009 Interactive Media Agreement, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild will host an informational meeting for the purpose of providing a report to members on the Tentative Agreement reached for the 2009 Interactive Media Agreement. The meeting will be held in Los Angeles.
Members of the Interactive Media Agreement negotiating committee and staff will be in attendance.

Please inform your fellow union members who work under this agreement about this important meeting. Participation is limited only by fire department regulations.

When: 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild Headquarters
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Parking will be validated

All paid-up SAG members who work under the Interactive Agreement should attend. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).

August 17, 2009

Tonight’s Meeting

Date: Monday 8/17/2009

The hurried-up National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting will take place tomorrow, Monday, in a videoconference gathering ostensibly to ratify the animatiion and basic cable contracts.

Although the ostensible reason for the NEC meeting is to ratify those contracts, apparently, the real reason for the rush is to address the appeal of “Member Unbecoming” findings of a SAG trial board–which result in a suspension which would disallow SAG Presidential announced candidate Seymour Cassel from being on the Presidential ballot.

Now, the Ol’ Dog has labeled this whole unfortunate affair as “Rubberband Gate” because the primary charge involves a couple of female staff members who where the target of rubberbands, allegedly propelled into their derrieres. It all seems a little trivial, in light of the firestorm it will be sure to engender. (Of course, one may feel differently if it was their backside.)

The reason, I say it will start a firestorm, is because I have been assured that Seymour fully intends to take this to federal court if his appeal is denied. And since this involves an election and some questionable practices by senior SAG staff, it could result in a Federal involvement in this election.

You see, when politically motivated charges were brought against a SAG board opponent several years ago, it ended up in federal court and the plaintiff won. Part of the agreement was that SAG would change the way it did business when it came to “conduct unbecoming” charges.

Well, unfortunately, SAG made no changes, which may be a tad hard to explain to the court when SAG defends its policies in regard to Seymour, who was found guilty under the same unmodified policies.

Also, the fact that Seymour was not informed of charges until he pulled his petition, is also suspicious. I was told by a source, I respect, that Seymour was indeed informed in writing of the charges before he drew his petition, but the facts do not support that. Here is a portion of the copy from SAG that Seymour received regarding the fact that charges were being brought. It supports Seymour’s contention that he was not informed of the charges until after he asked for his petition on June 25th.

Now is this drop dead proof that there is hanky-panky going on? No! But it does support Seymour’s claim that he was not informed of the charges until AFTER he received his petition to run for SAG president. And it will be something SAG Legal will have to answer to if, and when, this goes to Federal Court.

Here is a problem I have with this whole affair; In this case SAG staff, on its own, is able to bring charges unbecoming a member against a member. However, a SAG member cannot bring charges unbecoming against a staff member—but rather has to, at great expense, bring their charges in court. How about this; if these staff members have a complaint, why involve SAG, but rather use the only recourse available to a SAG member and take their complaint to court. Hey, fair is fair.

Look, we have three distinguished actors running for President; Ken Howard, Anne-Marie Johnson and Seymour Cassel, do we really need SAG Staff sticking their noses in this election. Let’s hear from the candidates, and let the membership decide who they want to be SAG president.

The fact is that there is too much political BS going on in our union; And If you don’t believe it then check this post for an update later to understand how politics in the branches is being used to deny a qualified SAG member and well established actor from running for the SAG board.

July 17, 2009

DGA tell Rosenberg

Speaks volumes about the future.

Michael Apted slams SAG president – By Dave McNary July 17. 2009

The Directors Guild of America has told Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg to shut up and go away.

That’s the sentiment expressed by outgoing DGA president Michael Apted in a blunt letter responding to Rosenberg’s request for a summit meeting of the town’s unions about the 2011 round of negotiations.

Rosenberg pledged he would make such an effort on June 9, in the aftermath of SAG members’ ratification of the feature-primetime contract. But, in a letter sent Wednesday, Apted made it abundantly clear that Rosenberg’s relentless criticism of the DGA has been so out of line that the DGA’s not remotely interested in any such get-together.

Apted noted that under “normal circumstances,” such a summit meeting to discuss negotiations could take place — but without public proclamations announcing the meeting first.

“Of course, these are not normal circumstances,” Apted said. “Since June 9, I’ve seen repeated statements in the press regarding your intention to call a meeting, yet Monday’s email is the first time you’ve made any effort to contact me in over 18 months. In addition, you’ve repeatedly, and in my opinion unfraternally, attacked the negotiations and contracts of the DGA and other unions in the press and other public forums. So, in the circumstances, I’m very surprised that you would consider yourself to be in a position to convene an event that requires trust and fraternity to have any chance of success.”

Apted concluded the letter by saying, “On behalf of the DGA, I respectfully decline your request.”

Rosenberg told Daily Variety he was disappointed over Apted’s response.

“It’s a shame that what had been a private communication has become public,” he said. “I’m disappointed that Michael Apted doesn’t share my belief in the importance of building unity among the unions because our collective efforts should be towards obtaining a decent deal in two years. What’s happened at past negotiations doesn’t really matter now.”

The SAG president’s power to speak officially on behalf of the guild was taken away in late January as part of the move by the board’s moderates to oust former SAG national exec director Doug Allen.

But there’s been bad blood between the guilds dating back to Jan. 29, 2008 — when Rosenberg and Allen blasted the DGA’s tentative contract agreement with the majors, which eventually served as the template for the WGA, AFTRA and SAG contracts. Rosenberg and Allen criticized many of the specifics of the deal in a message sent to SAG members.

Apted responded on the same day by accusing SAG of throwing a monkey wrench into the talks between the WGA and majors that would ultimately settle the scribes’ 100-day walkout.

“Their letter has one purpose and one purpose only: to interfere with the informal talks currently under way between the WGA and the studios,” Apted said at the time. “Simply put, their assumptions and arguments are specious. The DGA deal is a great deal for our members.”

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said last week that there had been no movement toward a summit meeting. She had proposed the idea a year ago but said last Friday that she’d wait until after the SAG elections in September before exploring such a step.

The WGA said it has not been approached by Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.

An AFTRA rep said that Los Angeles Local President Ron Morgan received an invitation earlier this week from Rosenberg to meet at his home on Aug. 3 to discuss “building solidarity” between the entertainment labor unions. But she added that AFTRA leaders won’t be available.

“AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon never received an invitation,” the rep added. “The entire AFTRA leadership team will be in Chicago from Monday, August 3 through Sunday, August 9 for the Convention and other related union meetings, which have been scheduled for more than a year.”

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow said Thursday, “The WGA has not been approached by Alan Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.”

June 18, 2009

Digital Media Law – WGA Institues Qualified Voting

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Digital Media Law

 

WGA Institutes Qualified Voting

Posted: 17 Jun 2009 11:32 PM PDT

The WGA membership has approved new rules limiting members’ eligibility to vote on strike authorization and ratification of the feature-primetime contract: members now have to have earnings of $30,000 under a WGA agreement during the six years preceding the vote or 15 or more qualified years as a pension plan participant, Variety reports.

The change passed by a margin of 96% to 4%, with turnout a low 15%. This level of support, and lack of angst as signaled by the low turnout, contrast with the reaction within SAG when a “qualified voting” or “affected voting” system having income requirements was proposed in that union. Of course, a higher percentage of SAG actors would have been disqualified since more than 2/3’s of SAG members earn little or money from the TV/theatrical contracts in any given year, even when residuals are included in the calculation.

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Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

June 7, 2009

Voting No!

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 10:47 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

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

SAG Town Hall Meeting

Report on SAG NY Town Hall Meeting  (June 2,  2009)

 

SAG held a town hall meeting in NY last night to provide information re the TV/theatrical contract. It comes a bit late in the process, since the ballots are due back in the mail by next Tuesday, June 9. That means that the last day to reliably mail the ballots is probably Friday, or even Thursday, depending on your faith in the USPS and its vagaries. It also means that we have probably seen the end of the multitude of pro and con videos deployed on the SAG website, Membership First website, and YouTube.

Variety reports the turnout was slim—about 100 actors. SAGWatch infers, accurately I think, that most people have already voted and would have little reason to attend an informational meeting at this point.

The Variety report notes that attendees included SAG interim NED David White, President Alan Rosenberg, MF-ers 1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and Scott Wilson, while supporters of the deal included Dan Lauria, Dylan Baker, SAG 2nd VP Sam Freed and board members Ralph Byers, Paul Christie, Rebecca Damon, Mike Hodge and Kevin Scullin.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, tells me that the MF folks (perhaps 15-20 people) were rowdy, booing people and apparently having their cell phones call en masse to disrupt the meeting.

However, the most interesting thing the source told me is that after the meeting the source spoke individually with Alan Rosenberg and asked whether he would attempt to have SAG reimburse him for his legal fees incurred in the lawsuit he, Johnson, Diane Ladd and Kent McCord files against SAG itself, a suit that has received denials in both the trial and appellate courts but nonetheless continues at both levels.

What’s interesting Rosenberg’s response, as reported by the source: “I don’t have any legal fees. It’s pro bono.” This is a problem—if true, it would explain in part why Rosenberg and his co-plaintiffs continue the futile and disruptive suit against SAG, which is burning up the union’s money at a that the guild has ben left with a $6 million deficit by MF. It’s also a small benefit, in that the plaintiffs will have no legal fees to extract from SAG if they were to recover control of the national board.

I emailed Rosenberg requesting comment on the source’s report and his assistant replied that his response was as follows: “This is a private matter and I don’t want to speak about it publicly”. “I have no further comment”.

 

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Kathy Joosten Responds to Martin Sheen

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 1:09 pm
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Kathy Joosten Responds to Martin Sheen

An excellent video by Kathy Joosten (vote Yes on the SAG contract) responding to the recent video by Martin Sheen and friends (vote No).

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.

 

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