Showbizreporting's Blog

September 11, 2009

SAG P & H Plans

Fellow SAG Members,

You’ve just received the latest edition of TAKE 2, the newsletter of SAG’s Pension and Health Plans, and like me, you were probably troubled by what you read:

“According to federal guidelines established by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the [Pension] Plan is in the orange zone and considered to be seriously endangered.”

“So far this year, contributions generated from employment-based earnings are down 10%. This represents the largest drop in plan history and does not account for the full impact of the decrease in SAG-covered television pilots, which has yet to be realized.”

HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS GOING UP
You also read that starting January 1st, our Health Insurance premiums are going up: 66% higher for Plan One, 50% higher for Plan Two, and 92% higher for Plan Two “age & service” coverage. And for the first time in the Plan’s history, all Senior Performers will now have to pay monthly premiums.

PENSION ACCRUAL RATE COMING DOWN
The funding decline of our Pension Plan means that corrective action must be taken, or “the Pension Plan could enter the red zone, (the most critical status under the PPA) and risk a funding deficiency under federal law, which would require even stronger action to correct.” As a result, effective Jan. 1, 2010, the pension accrual rate will be lowered from 3.5% to 2.0%, a drop of 42%.

This is very serious news, but it’s equally important to point out that these reductions do not apply to any pension you are currently receiving, or any benefits you have already accrued. By taking action now, the Plans will preserve their ability to pay those promised benefits.

However, as the Plan Trustees noted in their newsletter, the outlook for future benefits is less secure.

Investment losses hurt benefit plans across the country last year, including SAG’s – even though the Guild’s plans fared better than most in that regard. But earnings-based contributions have suffered their worst drop ever, and this does not reflect the future effects of SAG covering only 10% of the 2009 TV pilots. The cost of the decision last year to fight with AFTRA rather than partner with them on our biggest contract negotiation has already been deeply felt, but it hasn’t been fully realized yet.

YOUR VOTE WILL DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
I support my family as an actor and I couldn’t do it without solid health insurance and the expectation of a secure pension when I retire. Many of you are in the same boat… but even if you’re not, we all understand just how crucial those benefits are.

Will we go back to fighting with AFTRA and further endanger our benefit plans? Or will we unite with AFTRA to increase our bargaining power and strengthen the security of our health and pension benefits? This election will determine our course.

It’s clearer than ever that we cannot go back to the go-it-alone approach. That’s why I’m asking you to vote for Ken Howard, Amy Aquino and me, along with all the other UFS board candidates. And please spread this message to every SAG member you know. It has never been more important to make sure that all your friends and colleagues vote.

Respectfully,

Ned Vaughn

For more information about our candidates and to see all the UFS videos, please visit http://www.UniteforStrength.com

**UNITE FOR STRENGTH VOTING GUIDE**

President – KEN HOWARD
Secretary-Treasurer – AMY AQUINO

Board of Directors – Please vote for ALL 33 board candidates below. DO NOT vote for more than 33 board candidates or your ballot will not be counted.

1 – Michelle Allsopp
6 – Patrick Fabian
9 – Jason George
10 – Dawnn Lewis
11 – Woody Schultz
12 – Michael O’Keefe
14 – Clark Gregg
19 – David Lawrence
20 – Amir Talai
21 – Doug Savant
22 – Dule Hill
23 – Clyde Kusatsu
25 – Tim DeKay
28 – Assaf Cohen
34 – Scotty Caldwell
35 – D.W. Moffett
39 – Mandy Steckelberg
40 – Richard Speight, Jr.
43 – Jenny O’Hara
52 – Gabrielle Carteris
55 – Hill Harper
57 – Bill Smitrovich
58 – Bob Bergen
59 – Ned Vaughn
60 – Nancy Travis
62 – Gregory Itzin
64 – Ellen Crawford
67 – Stacey Travis
73 – Christian Clemenson
74 – Conrad Palmisano
75 – Richard Fancy
81 – Marcia Wallace
82 – John Carroll Lynch

August 29, 2009

SAG Canadates – Hollywood

Dear SAG Colleague,
The SAG elections are now upon us, and below are my endorsements for President, Secretary-Treasurer, and fellow SAG colleagues who are running in Hollywood. After years of infighting and the union’s rapid and reckless deterioration into ineffectiveness, with elected leaders suing their own union, disparaging our sister union AFTRA, and the inability (or unwillingness) to negotiate important industry contracts and costing us millions of dollars, we now have the ability to vote people in who will work for ALL OF US, for solidarity and strength, now and in the immediate future.

I am urging you to vote for these fine people who will be devoting massive amounts of their time, away from their individual careers, to work for us and to fight for us, for our protections and our place in this industry. The people listed below, that I endorse 100%, believe in The Screen Actors Guild and everything the union stands for. Feel free to pass this list to your Hollywood friends who are voting this election.

Use this list below as you check your choices on the Hollywood ballot. Please be invovled. Please VOTE!

Here’s to a brighter SAG future, and in solidarity,
Mark Redfield

FOR PRESIDENT
KEN HOWARD

FOR SECRETARY-TREASURER
AMY AQUINO

IN HOLLYWOOD (remember, you may vote for no more than 33 candidates–please consider these candidates listed below)
01. Michelle Allsopp
06. Patrick Fabian
09. Jason George
10. Dawnn Lewis
11. Woody Schultz
12. Michael O’Keefe
19. David H. Lawrence XVII
20. Amir Talai
21. Doug Savant
22. Dule Hill
23. Clyde Kusatsu
25. Tim DeKay
28. Assaf Cohen
34. L. Scott Caldwell
35. D.W. Moffett
39. Mandy Steckelberg
40. Richard Peight, Jr.
43. Jenny O’Hara
52. Gabrielle Carteris
55. Hill Harper
57. Bill Smitrovich
58. Bob Bergen
59. Ned Vaughn
60. Nancy Travis
62. Gregory Itzin
64. Ellen Crawford
67. Stacey Travis
73. Christian Clemenson
74. Conrad E. Palmisano
75. Richard Fancy
81. Marcia Wallace
82. John Carroll Lynch

July 29, 2009

Unite for Strength Members

Last year’s SAG election was important, but the upcoming SAG election means everything to your future as a professional performer. Not only will seats on the Hollywood and National Boards be at stake, but members will also elect SAG’s next President and Secretary-Treasurer. Most important, this election will decide a fundamental question for the future: will SAG go it alone – costing us more jurisdiction and further weakening us at the bargaining table – or will we unite for strength?

Fighting with other unions has gotten SAG nowhere and cost Guild members dearly. Ken Howard, Amy Aquino, and all the UFS board candidates understand that professional performers must have the smartest, strongest union representation possible – and the only way to get it is by working in cooperation with our labor partners. That’s what Unite for Strength is all about.

This national election will be hotly contested and we must get our message to the Guild’s 120,000 members. We can’t do that without your financial support. We need your donations to win.

Come join UFS for a night of celebration, food, drink, education, and good old-fashioned fundraising THIS Thursday, July 30th at 7:30pm.

It’s a great opportunity to meet those who have been working so hard for you since our first election victory, as well as the new candidates on our 2009 slate. We’ll be laughing, singing, dancing, and talking about the issues – and raising money to ensure that a powerful, united front representing all professional performers is the future for the Screen Actors Guild.

Please call a few friends and RSVP by sending an email to ufsparty@gmail.com right away!
(Location will be provided upon receipt of RSVP)
And if you can’t make it, please make a donation through our website:
http://www.UniteforStrength.com

UFS National Board Members –
Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman, Ken Howard, Pamela Reed, Kate Walsh

UFS 2009 Candidates –
President: Ken Howard
Secretary-Treasurer: Amy Aquino

National/Hollywood Board –
Michelle Allsopp, Bob Bergen, Scotty Caldwell, Gabrielle Carteris, Christian Clemenson, Assaf Cohen, Ellen Crawford, Tim DeKay, Patrick Fabian, Richard Fancy, Jason George, Clark Gregg, Hill Harper, Dule Hill, Gregory Itzin, Clyde Kusatsu, David Lawrence, Dawnn Lewis, John Carroll Lynch, D.W. Moffett, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Conrad Palmisano, Doug Savant, Woody Schultz, Bill Smitrovich, Richard Speight, Mandy Steckelberg, Amir Talai, Nancy Travis, Stacey Travis, Ned Vaughn, Marcia Wallace

June 4, 2009

This is not good.

 

Three Membership First Candidates Elected to AFTRA Boards

 

The AFTRA Los Angeles results are in. Many candidates were reelected, but new winners include two Membership First leaders—SAG 1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson (AFTRA national board) and former SAG Hollywood Board member David Jolliffe (AFTRA Los Angeles local board)—as well as Membership First member Alan Ruck (AFTRA national board). They join several MF stalwarts already on the national board (not sure about the LA local board).

Johnson and Jolliffe bring a particularly interesting dynamic to the AFTRA boards. Johnson, for instance, in a recent video described running for the AFTRA board as “really distasteful for me” and accused AFTRA of leech[ing] off of [SAG].” Jolliffe, for his part, told me in an interview last summer that SAG was the “one union for actors.” These remarks certainly make one skeptical of their intentions as they join the AFTRA boards.

I’m told by a source that even with these new board members, Membership First still controls less than 10% of the votes on AFTRA’s national board. They now have 7 seats (out of 73 total on the board) – Frances Fischer, Sumi Haru, Jane Austin, Jeff Austin, Anne-Marie Johnson, Alan Ruck, and Bonnie Bartlett.

3,262 valid ballots were received in the election, which was for LA only. I’m not sure what percentage turnout that represents, but I’m asking AFTRA. However, given that the union has 70,000 members nationwide, I’m guessing that this turnout is probably on the order of 10%.

In any case, the small number of ballots makes it impossible, in my view, to extrapolate from these results and make predictions about the upcoming SAG elections (July through September), let alone the contract ratification vote (ballots due in by mail next Tuesday, so there’s only a day or so left to send in ballots).

Below is the AFTRA press release with complete information on the election.

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Election Results for Los Angeles Officers, Los Angeles and National Board

Members, and Convention Delegates

 

AFTRA LA President Ron Morgan Reelected

 

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 3, 2009)—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today election results for the AFTRA Los Angeles Local.

 

Actor Ron Morgan was re-elected President of AFTRA Los Angeles and will begin his new two-year term as Local President on July 1; he ran unopposed in his bid for reelection. Mr. Morgan was also elected to the AFTRA National Board of Directors for a four-year term; he also serves as a National Vice President of the union.

 

Also uncontested in their reelection for two-year terms as officers for AFTRA Los Angeles were First Vice President Susan Boyd Joyce, a singer; actor Gabrielle Carteris, Second Vice President; Third Vice President Bobbie Bates, a dancer; Fourth VP Jason George, an actor; Recording Secretary Patrika Darbo, an actor; and actor Jay Gerber continues as Treasurer.

 

Reelected to three-year terms on the Los Angeles Local Board of Directors were actors David Bowe, Raza Burgee, Andrew Caple-Shaw, Gabrielle Carteris, Bob Joles, Kate Linder, and Paul Napier; announcer Mike Sakellarides; dancer Galen Hooks; broadcaster Pepe Barreto; and singers Susan Boyd Joyce and Dick Wells. Incoming Los Angeles Local Board members include actors David Andriole, Mimi Cozzens, David Jolliffe, Marcia Strassman; and announcer Chuck Southcott.

 

AFTRA National Board members from the Los Angeles Local reelected to four-year terms include actors Gabrielle Carteris, Jay Gerber, Ron Morgan, and Paul Petersen; dancer Bobbie Bates; and singers Susan Boyd Joyce and Sally Stevens. Newly-elected to the AFTRA National Board are actors Anne-Marie Johnson, D. W. Moffett, Jason Priestley, and Alan Ruck.

 

One-hundred-and-ninety-eight (198) Los Angeles Delegates to AFTRA’s 62nd National Convention were also elected. The National Convention will be held August 6 – 8 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

There are 73 seats total on the new AFTRA National Board, which will be officially seated following AFTRA’s National Convention on August 9 in Chicago, Illinois. The AFTRA Los Angeles Local will be assigned 26 seats on the new National Board; 13 were up for election, 11 were open seats and two seats were assigned to the Announcer category and the Newsperson category, respectively.

 

All AFTRA Los Angeles Local officer and board terms begin July 1. The AFTRA National Board terms begin at the conclusion of this summer’s National Convention.

 

A total of 3,262 valid ballots were received in the AFTRA Los Angeles election.

June 3, 2009

SAG STALEMATE UPDATE (APR. 17, 2009)

Digital Media Law  
SAG Stalemate Update

Posted: 17 Apr 2009 08:43 AM PDT

The Screen Actors Guild stalemate grinds on. Variety says there are back-channel talks with studio heads, but it’s hard to know whether talks are actually in progress or, if any, how substantive they are. These rumors have persisted off and on for almost two months at least.

Causing the stalemate is the issue of contract expiration date rather than new media; there’s talk of a trade-off between this issue and the (unrelated) SAG demand for force majeure payments per the previous SAG agreement. Meanwhile, the passage of time itself threatens to generate new roadblocks.

The SAG Board is meeting this weekend, and Variety suggests a proposed TV/theatrical deal might be presented to the Board then. I’m skeptical, but you never know. The SAG story has had a surprise around every corner, although for the last year, stalemate has unfortunately been the one constant.

What is known is that the SAG and AFTRA boards will spend part of the weekend meeting jointly to review the proposed commercials contract, a deal reached earlier this month between the two unions and the ad industry. That deal, a good one for labor, has garnered little opposition and is expected to be approved overwhelmingly, first by the two boards, then by the two unions’ membership, a process that will take several weeks.

In contrast, the TV/theatrical deal—even though there isn’t one—has garnered opposition. The MembershipFirst hardliners have pledged to oppose any deal endorsed by the current leadership, in part because of new media issues. A small band of MF-ers, in groups of 50-100, have been protesting the nonexistent deal in small weekly rallies around town for the past 6-8 weeks. That group is led by Scott Wilson, and has included, from time to time, SAG President Alan Rosenberg, 1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson, former national board alternate David Jolliffe, and even twice-ousted National Executive Director Doug Allen.

Speaking of Johnson and Jolliffe, they are two of the several dozen candidates in the upcoming AFTRA national and LA board elections. MF, which bitterly opposes merger between SAG and AFTRA and burns with hatred for AFTRA, has adopted a strategy of attempting to attack merger from within AFTRA itself—not that AFTRA is likely to be keen to merge with SAG at this point anyway, given the turmoil the Guild has endured at the hands of MF for over a year.

Thus, as Variety points out, MF-ers Bonnie Bartlett, Frances Fisher and Sumi Haru currently sit on both the SAG and AFTRA national boards. MF candidates in the upcoming AFTRA elections, in addition to Johnson and Jolliffe, include Steven Barr and David Clennon. Ballots will be mailed May 8 and due back June 3.

The AFTRA press release is below.

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AFTRA press release:
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO
Los Angeles , California (April 16, 2009)—The Los Angeles Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—the people who entertain and inform America—announced the complete list of candidates for its 2009 election of Los Angeles Officers and Board members, Los Angeles-based National Board members, and delegates to the 2009 AFTRA National Convention.
All seven incumbent AFTRA Los Angeles Officers were named candidates for re-election by the AFTRA Los Angeles Nominating Committee and will run unopposed for additional two-year terms. They include Los Angeles President Ron Morgan; First Vice President Susan Boyd Joyce; Second Vice President Gabrielle Carteris; Third Vice President Bobbie Bates; Fourth Vice President Jason George; Recording Secretary Patrika Darbo; and Treasurer Jay Gerber.
A total of 22 AFTRA Los Angeles Board seats are up for election with candidates either having been selected by the Los Angeles Nominating Committee or qualifying for the ballot by Nominating Petition. Actors named by the Nominating Committee to fill 11openings include incumbents David Bowe, Raza Burgee, Andrew Caple-Shaw, Gabrielle Carteris, Bob Joles, and Kate Linder, along with David Andriole, Mimi Cozzens, Sandra de Bruin, James Schneider, and Marcia Strassman. Qualifying for the ballot by Nominating Petition are incumbent actors Nancy Daly and Paul Napier, joined by actor David Jolliffe.
Incumbent announcer Mike Sakellarides and announcer Chuck Southcott were named by the Nominating Committee as candidates to fill two vacancies representing that category. Dancer Galen Hooks, also an incumbent Board member, was named as a candidate by the Nominating Committee to fill one vacancy in that category.
Candidates to fill two singer vacancies are incumbents Susan Boyd Joyce and Dick Wells, both also selected by the Nominating Committee. Incumbent broadcaster Pepe Barreto was named by the Nominating Committee as a candidate for re-election representing the newsperson category with two additional newsperson seats remaining to be filled. There are also three vacancies representing the sportscaster category to be filled.
Thirteen seats representing Los Angeles on AFTRA’s National Board are up for election, with one seat guaranteed for Los Angeles Announcers and one for Los Angeles Newspersons. The remaining 11 seats will be filled based on the plurality of votes received. All National Board candidates qualified for the ballot by Nominating Petition. Candidates include incumbents Bobbie Bates, Susan Boyd Joyce, Gabrielle Carteris, Jay Gerber, Ron Morgan, Paul Petersen, and Sally Stevens. Also running are members Granville Ames, Steven Barr, L. Scott Caldwell, David Clennon, Milo Edwards, Carole Elliott, Anne-Marie Johnson, D. W. Moffett, Jason Priestley, Elizabeth Reynolds, and Alan Ruck.
Officer and Board Candidates will have the opportunity to address the membership at the AFTRA Los Angeles annual “Meet the Candidates” forum on Wednesday evening, April 29, at the union’s headquarters.
Los Angeles members will also elect 198 delegates to represent their performing categories at the 2009 AFTRA National Convention scheduled for August 6-8 in Chicago , Illinois .
Ballots will be mailed on May 8 with a voting deadline of June 3. Elected Los Angeles Officers and Board members will begin their terms July 1. National Board members begin their four-year terms at the conclusion of this summer’s National Convention.

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