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December 17, 2009

SAG Nominations

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:24 pm
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SAG noms revealed
‘Basterds, ‘Precious,’ ‘Up in the Air’ lead SAG noms
By Gregg Kilday

Dec 17, 2009, 09:22 AM ET
“Inglourious Basterds,” “Precious” and “Up in the Air” led the list, with three nominations each, as the Screen Actors Guild unveiled noms for its 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Thursday morning.

“Basterds” and “Precious” were both nominated for outstanding performance by a motion picture cast — SAG’s equivalent of a best picture award — along with “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker” and the musical “Nine.”

On the TV side, SAG also spread the love around, doling out three noms each to “30 Rock,” “The Closer” and “Dexter.”

“The Hurt Locker’s” Jeremy Renner, who was overlooked when the Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday, made the list of motion picture lead actor nominees along with Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”) and Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”).

For lead motion picture actress, the nominees are Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) and Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia.”).

For supporting male film actor, SAG rounded up Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”), Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”) and Christoph Waltz (“Basterds”).

The circle of supporting female film actors includes Penelope Cruz (“Nine”), Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”), Diane Kruger (“Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious.”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

JEFF BRIDGES / Bad Blake – “CRAZY HEART” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
GEORGE CLOONEY / Ryan Bingham – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH / George Falconer – “A SINGLE MAN” (The Weinstein Company)
MORGAN FREEMAN / Nelson Mandela – “INVICTUS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JEREMY RENNER / Staff Sgt. William James – “THE HURT LOCKER” (Summit Entertainment)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

SANDRA BULLOCK / Leigh Anne Tuohy – “THE BLIND SIDE” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
HELEN MIRREN / Sofya – “THE LAST STATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
CAREY MULLIGAN / Jenny – “AN EDUCATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
GABOUREY SIDIBE / Precious – “PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE” (Lionsgate)
MERYL STREEP / Julia Child – “JULIE JULIA” (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

MATT DAMON / Francois Pienaar – “INVICTUS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
WOODY HARRELSON / Captain Tony Stone – “THE MESSENGER” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Tolstoy – “THE LAST STATION” (Sony Pictures Classics)
STANLEY TUCCI / George Harvey – “THE LOVELY BONES” (Paramount Pictures)
CHRISTOPH WALTZ / Col. Hans Landa – “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

PENELOPE CRUZ / Carla – “NINE” (The Weinstein Company)
VERA FARMIGA / Alex Goran – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
ANNA KENDRICK / Natalie Keener – “UP IN THE AIR” (Paramount Pictures)
DIANE KRUGER / Bridget Von Hammersmark – “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)
MO’NIQUE / Mary – “PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

AN EDUCATION (Sony Pictures Classics)
DOMINIC COOPER / Danny
ALFRED MOLINA / Jack
CAREY MULLIGAN / Jenny
ROSAMUND PIKE / Helen
PETER SARSGAARD / David
EMMA THOMPSON / Headmistress
OLIVIA WILLIAMS / Miss Stubbs

THE HURT LOCKER (Summit Entertainment)
CHRISTIAN CAMARGO / Col. John Cambridge
BRIAN GERAGHTY / Specialist Owen Eldridge
EVANGELINE LILLY / Connie James
ANTHONY MACKIE / Sgt. J.T. Sanborn
JEREMY RENNER / Staff Sgt. William James

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures)
DANIEL BRUHL / Fredrick Zoller
AUGUST DIEHL / Major Hellstrom
JULIE DREYFUS / Francesca Mondino
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Lt. Archie Hicox
SYLVESTER GROTH / Joseph Goebbels
JACKY IDO / Marcel
DIANE KRUGER / Bridget Von Hammersmark
MELANIE LAURENT / Shosanna
DENIS MENOCHET / Perrier LaPedite
MIKE MYERS / General Ed French
BRAD PITT / Lt. Aldo Raine
ELI ROTH / Sgt. Donny Donowitz
TIL SCHWEIGER / Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz
ROD TAYLOR / Winston Churchill
CHRISTOPH WALTZ / Col. Hans Landa
MARTIN WUTTKE / Hitler

NINE (The Weinstein Company)
MARION COTILLARD / Luisa Contini
PENELOPE CRUZ / Carla
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Guido Contini
JUDI DENCH / Lillian
FERGIE / Saraghina
KATE HUDSON / Stephanie
NICOLE KIDMAN / Claudia
SOPHIA LOREN / Mamma

PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAPPHIRE (Lionsgate)
MARIAH CAREY / Ms. Weiss
LENNY KRAVITZ / Nurse John
MO’NIQUE / Mary
PAULA PATTON / Ms. Rain
SHERRI SHEPHERD / Cornrows
GABOUREY SIDIBE / Precious

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November 13, 2009

Afrta Aproves Contract

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 12:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Dear Friends,

AFTRA voters have approved the interactive contract by a margin of
about 2 to 1. The vote apparently went out to over 2200 AFTRA members
who have worked in interactive games over the past three years. I’m
going to guess that most all members who voted on this on the AFTRA
side are also SAG members, but I have no data on this.

I’m not sure where this leaves SAG or the out-of-sync interactive
contracts, with SAG’s caucuses having rejected the terms. The SAG
national caucus meetings got I believe only about 115 voters
nationally, with nearly 2 to 1 voting against the contract, although
all those opposed were here in Los Angeles only. All other cities
voted to approve it.

I suppose it is now up to us (along with our agents) to either accept
“atmospheric” work in interactive games or not.

Dee

http://www.aftra.com/D37BBD4F17234FEB81CC32B1828E3BB1.htm

October 27, 2009

Note from Dee Baker

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 7:54 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Hi All:

I join with Dee Baker in urging you to attend the Interactive vote meeting at SAG if you work the Interactive contract.

Dee’s lament about non affected members being allowed to vote is something that many of us have tried to address, however, the Board of Directors has been dominated by those who oppose such logic… But I digress.

Whatever your personal preference on this contract – show up if you want a voice in the matter.

From: Dee Baker
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 21:34:08 -0700
To: Dee Baker
Subject: Final Notice: SAG Interactive Referendum Tomorrow: Tuesday Night 7:30 at SAG

Dear Interactive Voice Over Friends,

If you have a strong opinion regarding the “atmospheric voices” provision in SAG’s proposed interactive contract, you owe it to yourself to show up to Tuesday night’s (Oct 27th) meeting at SAG, 5757 Wilshire in the Cagney Room for their referendum on the interactive contract.

It could be that any SAG member who shows up can vote, whether they work the contract or not, which I find unfortunate as it at once dilutes and politicizes the process, in my view. The invite says it’s for those who work the contract. There was some of this at last week’s AFTRA info meeting, but the turnout was fortunately mostly affected performers, so the weight of our voices ended up having a solid impact.

This will apparently be the deciding vote on the SAG side. Other cities are voting as well. Only those that show up get to vote at SAG, in contrast to AFTRA, which will apparently mail out ballots nationally to all those that work the contract.

Looks like you need to RSVP to the email below.

Thanks

Dee

Tuesday, Oct 27th,
Los Angeles: 7:30-9 p.m. PDT
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
RSVP to Mary Hashimoto via email at mhashimoto@sag.org
Parking will be validated.

Bring your paid up SAG card.

Note from Phil LaMar

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 7:51 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Here is a good word from working actor Phil LaMarr

Tonight’s caucus is all important for the Interactive Voice Over community

Tuesday, Oct 27th, 7:30-9 p.m.
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
James Cagney Board Room
RSVP to Mary Hashimoto at mhashimoto@sag.org or call (323) 549-6453.
Parking will be validated.

Bring your paid up SAG card.

From Phil:

Hi, for anybody reading this who doesn’t know me, my name’s Phil LaMarr. I’m a SAG/AFTRA member who does a good amount of voice work for video games. I’ve attended the SAG Interactive meeting in Sept. and I was on the AFTRA interactive steering committee where I voted against this proposal. I’m not going to able to make the meeting Tuesday so I wanted to say why I changed my mind and decided to support this agreement.

At first, I opposed it because it was clear that the atmospheric voices provision was of great benefit to the producers and I questioned whether we were getting anything of value in return. After looking at the details and history of this, I’m convinced that we are getting more and giving less than many of us have been led to believe.

We get: contracts that end together and that only last 15 months.

Synchronized contracts that end in less than a year and a half may not be glamorous, but they are HUGE benefits to us. They keep the unions from continuing to be played against each other. Also, we can start to see the effect of this atmospheric voice category and address any problems in 15 months instead of 2 or 3 years.

Now, some people in both unions are floating the idea that we can make adjustments to the atmos. voice provision or vote it down then tweak it. Unfortunately, that is not true. SAG was negotiating alone and they hit a wall. At that point SAG, AFTRA and the producers decided to have a joint OFF-THE-RECORD discussion and the producers agreed that this was an all-or-nothing deal. If we vote “Yes” it becomes “on-the-record.” If we say “NO” this goes away – completely. SAG goes back to the terms that were on the table when they halted their talks (including an Atmos. VO proposal asking for non-union actors and unlimited word counts) and they try to bargain up from there.

As for the plan that we vote this down then start joint SAG-AFTRA negotiations – that’s a fantastic idea except the producers have to agree to negotiate these two separate contracts together. They might, but why would they? They wouldn’t agree to it BEFORE we rejected the result of 5 mos. of negotiations – why would they now? They want us staggered and imbalanced, I think the only reason they agreed to joint off-the-record talks was for the chance to get the atmos. VO provision into the AFTRA contract 6 months early.

That is all pretty complex so I’ll put it more simply – if we walk away from this we walk into separate negotiations with even WORSE terms.

Now, the other thing that made me consider ratifying this was taking a closer look at the Atmospheric Voice Proposal.

A lot of people are unaware of the protections included. There’s seems to be some confusion about the 300 word limit. People are multiplying by 20 characters and conveniently forgetting that the character has to be able to say a maximum of 300 words WITHOUT advancing the story. These are minor, incidental characters – the hooker in the car in GTA. If you’re voicing a major character they can’t tack on atmospheric ones, they have to bring you in for a separate session. And if somehow you’re able to do 20 distinct characters who have 300 words each the producers still have to fit that into ONE FOUR HOUR SESSION. And if they want “unlimited” voices? STILL ONE FOUR HOUR SESSION. I think they’re creating a category that they will be hard-pressed to maximize.

Some people have expressed reservations about vagueness and potential abuses – that’s the same thing we deal with now. When I voice a palace guard who THEN happens to go to the village inn and get drunk and THEN gets really scared when the market is attacked, who’s kidding who? Those are effectively 3 different characters – I’m being “abused.” At least now it’ll be above board.

And frankly, there’s nothing in this agreement with as much potential for lowering our collective earnings as the 1 hr/ 1 voice & 6 hr/ 6-10 voice clauses that have been in our current agreement for years. We managed those and I have faith that we can manage the difficulties in this new category too. Especially with this many of us active and engaged.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. My aim is not that people agree with my conclusions but that they have all the facts when they come to their own.
If anyone has any questions, corrections or comments please feel free to email me at phillamarr@mac.com.

Have fun storming the castle!

Phil LaMarr

October 15, 2009

Required Reading

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 11:34 am
Tags: , , , ,

Subject: Can two unions/companies/groups, etc. merge?

This is required reading for all SAG and AFTRA members.

Why It’s Time to Retire the 401k – TIME
http://www.facebook.com/l/d5ca7;www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1929119,00.html?artId=1929119?contType=article?chn=bizTech

Can two entities like SAG and AFTRA merge? Of course. Anything is possible.

Go into that merger knowing, however, that there will be tradeoffs.

It is the responsibility of SAG and AFTRA leadership to educate the membership on the potential gains as well as the potential concessions that go with any kind of merger.

This article in the latest TIME magazine is a good place to start.

Short background: SAG and AFTRA currently have Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans. A merger likely ends those plans and moves everyone not already retired to some combination of either a DB/DC plan (hybrid) or a straight DC (Defined Contribution plan–like a 401K or IRA).

This article gives us a glimpse of the possible future.

STAY INFORMED

Anthony Thomas Desantis Iii sent a message to the members of SAG USA.

——————–
Subject: Re-pasted link and a short response to a question.

Re-Pasted Link
http://www.facebook.com/l/d5ca7;www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1929119,00.html?artId=1929119?contType=article?chn=bizTech

Question: Wwhy does a merger likely mean an end to DB?

My brief answer: There have been almost no new DB plans opened in the past 5 years in the entire world. When two entities like SAG and AFTRA join, they do not so much merge the plans as close the old one and start a new one. There are always exceptions to every rule but this is the prevailing practice.

Everyone will fall on a continuum at that point. On one extreme end will be people who are already retired. They will retain their promised pension rights. At the other extreme are people who will be newly joined union members. They will most likely start with some form of 401K type pension from day one. In the middle will be everyone else. The trustees will run the numbers and draw a line or two on the continuum. People who are close to retirement may retain their DB rights. But everyone on the other side of that line may retain a portion of their DB rights and then everything from the day they open the new plan will be DC into that 401K-type plan. This is a hybrid situation. People with not too many years in the old plan will likely have those rights converted into a seed amount to start their new 401K plan and then retain that plan until they retire. The article has more specifics on what that means.

October 1, 2009

DML SAG Results

SAG: Four Hardline Horsemen in the National Board Room

Posted: 27 Sep 2009 03:29 PM PDT

Thursday’s SAG election was a victory for the moderate coalition. Yet, strangely enough, the leaders of the losing hardline faction will all find seats on the national board, and will continue to be a shadow government within the union’s Hollywood board—a board on which none of the key moderate leaders will be voting members.

Yes, the moderates (Unite for Strength (UFS) / USAN / RBD / independents) won the national offices – President and Secretary-Treasurer – and picked up additional national board seats and many on the Hollywood board as well. But with SAG, the story is never simple.

In fact, paradoxically, 1st VP and failed Membership First presidential candidate Anne-Marie Johnson will probably continue as 1st VP, ex-president Alan Rosenberg will almost certainly be back on the national board in a matter of days despite winning only an alternate seat, MF leader David Joliffe will probably be on the Hollywood board and effectively on the national board, and MF leader Kent McCord continues on the national and Hollywood boards.

Meanwhile, none of the key moderate leaders will be on the Hollywood board— Unite for Strength leaders Ned Vaughn, Assaf Cohen, Ken Howard and Amy Aquino are all off of that board, at least as voting members (the latter two will serve ex-officio, as non-voting members). Tough independent and former presidential candidate Morgan Fairchild remains, but she’s not a member of the UFS slate and thus doesn’t occupy a leadership position in that group. UFS-ers Adam Arkin and Amy Brenneman also remain, and perhaps will emerge to fill the gap.

How could the election yield so much change in the national offices and so little in the Hollywood Division? Here’s the scenario [UPDATED: Para. 3 is new.]:

1. The moderates seemingly have 27 seats on the Hollywood board out of 55 (because 27 = 6 seats pre-election plus 21 additional seats won in the election). That’s a tad less than half (49%). It would seemingly take peeling off one more vote from MF for the moderates to control the Hollywood board.

2. However, look closer. One of those 6 pre-election seats was held by Ken Howard. Under the SAG Constitution and By-Laws, a national officer can’t also be an elected member of the national board or a Divisional board. So, the day he became president, Howard lost his elected seat on the national and Hollywood boards, and, indeed, his name has been replaced on SAG website listings with “(1 TBD).” That leaves the moderates with 26 seats on the Hollywood board out of 54. That’s less than half by an even greater margin (48%). Now it would take 2 more votes, rather than just one, for the moderates to control the Hollywood board.

3. But, when it comes to electing officers (such as 1st VP) or selecting replacements for the Hollywood and national boards, the news is even bleaker for moderates. That’s because the Hollywood Division Rules of Procedure specify that for such purposes, the only Hollywood Division board members who can vote are national board members (or alternates sitting in for them) from the Hollywood Division. There are 32 such people (33 minus the vacant Ken Howard seat). The moderates control only 9 of those seats, whereas MF has 23.

4. So, Membership First controls who the Hollywood board elects, unless 8 MF-ers break ranks. If that doesn’t happen (and it’s not likely), then MF will fill the TBD vacancy. Whom will they select? Almost certainly Alan Rosenberg, whom they would elevate from national board alternate (which is the office he won on Thursday) to full national board member from the Hollywood division.

5. Thus, although Rosenberg ’s presidency was so discredited in many members’ eyes that he couldn’t even win a board seat, he’s likely to end up with one anyway. This would take place at the next Hollywood board meeting, which is scheduled for October 5.

6. Elevating Rosenberg leaves his alternate seat vacant. So, MF would then vote to appoint its longtime leader David Joliffe as a national alternate (and Hollywood board member). That effectively appoints him to the national board, because one or more of MF celebrity board members (which include Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Elliott Gould and Ed Asner) will usually be absent from national board meetings.

7. MF will also presumably vote to appoint newly reelected board member Anne-Marie Johnson as 1st VP (the VP office from Hollywood) and thus as Divisional chair, to the extent that she doesn’t automatically continue in these offices (note that the updated SAG website still lists her as 1st VP and divisional rules say that the 1st VP is also the chair). This is possible because Johnson ran for two seats in this election—president, but also, as a backup, national board member. She won the latter.

8. As a result, MF will have skilled leadership as voting members in the Hollywood board room, namely, all four of its core leaders: Johnson, Rosenberg, Jolliffe and, continuing on the national and Hollywood boards, Kent McCord.

9. In contrast, Unite for Strength will have none of its leaders as voting members in the Hollywood boardroom: Ned Vaughn and Assaf Cohen didn’t win seats on the Hollywood or national boards, and Ken Howard and Amy Aquino, as national officers, are non-voting, ex officio members of the Hollywood board, as well as the NY and RBD (Regional Branch Division) boards. One wonders whether Howard and/or Aquino will be able to find time to attend every Hollywood board meeting. In any case, their formal roles would be very circumscribed; under the Constitution and By-Laws, they’re not even allowed to make motions or “initiate any other parliamentary procedures.”

10. Note also that the Hollywood board gets to appoint the Hollywood members of the TV/theatrical contract negotiating committee, if there is one, and that Hollywood has a majority on that committee. That suggests that negotiation will once again have to be handled by a task force appointed by the whole board, not by a committee appointed on a Division by Division basis. (It’s unclear to me whether the task force appointed earlier this year is still in existence.) Unless, that is, SAG and AFTRA are able to reestablish joint bargaining under the Phase 1 agreement.

11. Remember too that it was the Hollywood board that passed a resolution expressing the goal that SAG “acquire actors of AFTRA,” i.e. in some mystical fashion divesting AFTRA of its actors and absorbing all of them in SAG. Anne-Marie Johnson ran for and won a seat on the AFTRA board—despite saying it was distasteful to run—giving her an internal platform for this goal as well. We can expect MF to seek to terminate the anti-disparagement agreement so that the Hollywood board will be free to express its anti-AFTRA views without financial repercussion to SAG.

Bottom line: SAG’s byzantine governance structure and geographical divisiveness will once again facilitate disunity. Among other things, the question becomes, will SAG and AFTRA be able to reestablish Phase 1 joint bargaining? The divided governance certainly makes it harder.

———————

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September 25, 2009

SAG Election Results are in!

SAG elects Ken Howard president
Amy Aquino chosen as secretary-treasurer
By Jay A. Fernandez

Sept 24, 2009, 10:24 PM ET

Updated: Sept 24, 2009, 11:10 PM ET
There are surely more conflicts to come, but the Screen Actors Guild membership on Thursday night settled a big one: Ken Howard has been elected the union’s new national president.

Running mate Amy Aquino beat two-time incumbent Connie Stevens in the race for secretary-treasurer. Howard and Aquino will serve two-year terms beginning Friday.

For the moment, at least, the outcomes indicate that a winning 47.2% of the voting segment of SAG’s roughly 120,000 members prefers the less strident approach of the self-styled moderate wing of the party represented by Unite for Strength.

Howard collected 12,895 votes, or 3,989 more than MembershipFirst candidate Anne-Marie Johnson, who received 32.6% of the 27,295 votes cast. Independents Seymour Cassel and Asmar Muhammad garnered 17.7% and 1.5%, respectively, in their bid for the presidency.

UFS came together last year in opposition and in January led a boardroom coup at SAG, installed new negotiators and salvaged a deal with Hollywood producers nearly a year after sister union AFTRA had ratified its own contract. Johnson is part of a separate coalition, Membership First, that was shunted to the board’s minority and saw its leader, president Alan Rosenberg, muzzled on most official guild business.

Howard, who picked up an acting Emmy on Sunday for his role in HBO’s “Grey Gardens,” campaigned on bringing a more collaborative approach to relationships with AFTRA, the DGA and WGA. Segments of those groups were alienated by the often-heated rhetoric of Rosenberg and 1st national vp Johnson.

“I campaigned on the promise that I’d do everything in my power to strengthen our position at the bargaining table by building a greater unity with AFTRA and the other entertainment unions, and that’s exactly what I intend to do,” Howard said. “Despite the sharp differences that those of us active in guild affairs sometimes have over strategy and tactics, we need to continually remind ourselves that we’re all on the same team, fighting for the same thing — and by pulling together, we’ll only grow stronger.”

UFS expanded the narrow majority it established on the 71-member national board in the September 2008 elections. The next Hollywood board meeting with newly seated members is scheduled for Oct. 5.

In concert with the national result, Mike Hodge was elected president of SAG’s New York branch, succeeding Sam Freed, who passed the moderate baton to his fellow United Screen Actors Nationwide member.

Hodge defeated Mitchell Green, a SAGNOW partisan affiliated with the more hard-line MembershipFirst faction. USAN, which is affiliated with UFS, has dominated SAG politics in New York in the recent past.

The results seem to reflect an industrywide fatigue resulting from the 2007-08 writers strike and the protracted SAG contract negotiations that ended in June. Last week, the WGA elected John Wells to the top slot over the more hard-line Writers United candidate Elias Davis. The rest of the WGA officers, however, were split with Writers United.

Among the immediate challenges facing Howard are retention of coverage of network pilots and the next round of negotiations for a new TV-theatrical contract. As part of the last deal, SAG agreed to start seven weeks of bargaining with the AMPTP as early as October 2010.

Additionally, the shifting economic and labor landscape has resulted in a looming decrease in benefits and increase in premiums beginning in January as a result of investment losses and decreased employer contributions. The damaged pension and health benefits situation became a political hot potato during the campaign.

Mending fences with sister unions DGA, WGA and AFTRA is a high priority for Howard as well. AFTRA members re-elected Roberta Reardon to the presidency in early August. As a UFS candidate, Howard preached the benefit of a collective approach with AFTRA and its roughly 70,000 members in negotiations with the studios and networks, an approach that was abandoned by the previous SAG regime.

The presence of Cassel in the election surely cost Johnson some votes, since he also remains a stalwart MembershipFirst partisan. Cassel narrowly lost to Rosenberg in the 2007 election, but he was dinged by an internal sexual harassment case against him that became public during this most recent campaign.

The National Board members elected Thursday will assume office Friday for terms of three years.

SAG’s Hollywood Division elected 11 National Board members; the New York division elected four National Board members; and seven National Board members were elected from the union’s branches in Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Portland and San Diego.

National Board members elected from the Hollywood Division in addition to Sheen, Harris, Johnson, Stevens and Ladd were Elliott Gould, Ed Asner, Dule Hill, Hill Harper, Nancy Travis and Marcia Wallace (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as National Board alternates and to the Hollywood division board (all one-year terms): Rosenberg, Gabrielle Carteris, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Clyde Kusatsu, Dawnn Lewis, Doug Savant, Michelle Allsopp, D.W. Moffett, Joe Bologna, Robert Hays, Jason George, L. Scott Caldwell, Clark Gregg, Patrick Fabian, Bill Smitrovich, Ellen Crawford, Stacey Travis, Mandy Steckelberg, Renee Taylor, Bernie Casey and John Carroll Lynch.

National Board members elected from the New York division: Freed, Sharon Washington, Monica Trombetta and Liz Zazzi (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as national board alternates and to the New York division board of directors (all one-year terms): Manny Alfaro, Sheila Head, Marc Baron, Joe Narciso, Jay Potter, Dave Bachman, John Rothman, Kevin Scullin and Justin Barrett.

National Board members elected from the Regional Branch division, all with three-year terms: John Carter Brown (Chicago), David Hartley-Margolin (Colorado), Dave Corey (Florida), Scott Rogers (Hawaii), Helen McNutt (Philadelphia), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Portland) and Don Ahles (San Diego).

Ballots for all eligible SAG members in Hollywood and New York were mailed on Aug. 25.

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

September 9, 2009

SAG Ballot

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:21 am
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SAG 2009 Hollywood Voting Guide

September 8, 2009

A Message from Ken Howard

Subject: A message from Ken Howard

Fellow Hollywood SAG Members,

The most important question in this election is this: What steps must we take to strengthen the Screen Actors Guild and make sure we can negotiate the best possible contracts? I’ve described very clearly what I think the answer is. We need to build close relationships with all our fellow entertainment unions and approach future contract negotiations as a united front. Most critically, the two unions representing performers in our industry must work together as one. The surest way to achieve that is by merging SAG and AFTRA into one powerful national union.

Please go to http://www.facebook.com/l/;uniteforstrength.com/?p=734 and you’ll see important video messages from Tom Hanks, William H. Macy, and Felicity Huffman explaining why they – along with Sally Field, Tony Shalhoub, Hector Elizondo and so many other SAG members – agree with me.

My opponent, Anne-Marie Johnson, sees it differently. She and her group, Membership First, chose to fight with AFTRA heading into last year’s TV/Theatrical negotiations, and it cost us terribly:

    – SAG members lost tens of millions of dollars in increases and countless job opportunities during a ten month contract stalemate.

    – SAG covered only 10% of the 2009 TV pilots.

    – Lower revenues led to a 2-year budget deficit of $10 million, requiring 8% of SAG’s staff to be fired.

    – Reduced earnings meant fewer members qualified for SAG health insurance and pension credits.

    – Lower earnings contributed to the need for major changes to SAG’s pension and health plans, which will take effect in January, including higher health insurance premiums and deductibles, and a lower pension accrual rate.

With results like these, it’s no surprise that Anne-Marie Johnson and Membership First are now trying to sound like they embrace the idea of working together with AFTRA. But what you hear them saying may be very different from what they mean.

    – They say they want “all performers in one union”… but they steadfastly oppose merger, the obvious way to accomplish that.

– They say SAG should “share services” with AFTRA… but they want to immediately end the legal agreement that prohibits SAG and AFTRA from publicly attacking each other.

– They say SAG and AFTRA must negotiate together in 2010… but Ms. Johnson pledges her first act if elected would be to ask performers who are members of both unions to choose between them. Is she suggesting that SAG should raid AFTRA’s membership? That would be ruinous.

We CANNOT afford to go back to the go-it-alone approach of Anne-Marie Johnson, Connie Stevens, and Membership First. Unite for Strength is dedicated to protecting the future for actors. If you agree that SAG is made stronger by working in partnership with our fellow entertainment unions, please vote for me, Amy Aquino, and all the Unite for Strength board candidates.

Respectfully,

Ken Howard

VOTE USAN – USF

http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.UnitedScreenActors.com

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