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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

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 10, 2009

Digital Media Law: SAGTV/Theatrical Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly, 78%-22%

Digital Media Law

SAG TV/Theatrical Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly, 78%-22%

In a stunning defeat for the hardline Membership First faction, SAG’s TV/theatrical contract passed overwhelmingly, by a 78%-22% margin (almost 4 to 1), those numbers according to the guild. Variety first reported the story, prior to the guild’s announcement, with a 1% difference in the numbers.

Significantly, even in the faction’s stronghold, the Hollywood division, the vote was an enormous 71% to 29% in favor, or almost 3 to 1. In NY, it was 86% to 14%, and in the regions it was 89% to 11%. There was a large turnout—35% of eligible members voted, far above the typical 20%-25%. The ballots went out to 110,000 paid-up members.

It’s an amazing end to an almost 12 month stalemate, and calls into question the faction’s ability to make any headway in the upcoming SAG board elections. On the contrary, the results suggest that the moderate Unite for Strength faction should make significant gains. That’s because only Membership First will be defending seats in Hollywood , whereas no moderates or independents are up for reelection. Thus, the moderates can only gain, at least in Hollywood . In NY and the regions, Membership First has little support, so, there again, the moderates should prevail.

Another question is the SAG presidency, which is up this year as well. According to Variety, incumbent president Alan Rosenberg announced today that he’ll seek a third term. Given the membership’s overwhelming rejection of his vote No position, that may be an uphill climb, especially if the moderates/independents put forward a high-profile candidate, such as James Cromwell, who has been rumored to be considering a run.

Below are press releases from AFTRA and the AMPTP.

————————-

AFTRA Press Release

AFTRA President Roberta Reardon Applauds SAG Contract Ratification

Los Angeles, CA (June 9, 2009)–In a statement released today, Roberta Reardon, National President of the American Federation of television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), praised the announcement by Screen Actors Guild regarding ratification by SAG members of a new two-year successor agreement to the SAG Basic Agreement and SAG Television Agreement saying:

“On behalf of the more than 70,000 members of AFTRA, I congratulate the members of Screen Actors Guild on their successful ratification of a new television and theatrical agreement. We’re pleased that SAG members will now enjoy improved wages and working conditions, and we applaud their efforts to negotiate a solid new agreement.”

———————

AMPTP Press Release

Statement by the AMPTP

The ratification vote by SAG members is good news for the entertainment industry. This concludes a two-year negotiating process that has resulted in agreements with all major Hollywood Guilds and Unions. We look forward to working with SAG members – and with everyone else in our industry – to emerge from today’s significant economic challenges with a strong and growing business.

June 3, 2009

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

 

SAG, AFTRA mail out ballots

Members to vote on new commercials pact

By DAVE MCNARY

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFTRA URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA TO USE “FULL FORCE” ON BEHALF OF ROXANA (APR. 21, 2009)

  
 

 

AFTRA President Roberta Reardon Urges President Obama to Act on Behalf of Journalist Roxana Saberi LOS ANGELES (April 20, 2009)—Roberta Reardon, National President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, sent the following letter today to President Barack Obama urging him to pressure the Iranian government to expedite a review of the case against American journalist Roxana Saberi who was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court last week. President Reardon sent a copy of the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

 Dear President Obama:

On behalf of the more than 70,000 members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—the people who entertain and inform America—whom I represent as AFTRA National President, I urge you to please use the full force of your administration to pressure the government of Iran to overturn the egregious eight-year prison sentence of American journalist Roxana Saberi imposed on her last week by an Iranian court.

Ms. Saberi is a professional journalist who has worked for a number of highly-respected news organizations around the world, including the BBC, and whose work has been broadcast across the country on NPR and other national news outlets. Her education and professional career are characterized by an unfailing commitment to excellence, accuracy, respect for others, and an open-minded fairness in reporting a story.

She is an American citizen who has chosen to live in Iran to pursue her career, further her education, and finish her work. Although not an AFTRA member, Ms. Saberi is an esteemed journalist who reported to the world the stories of people unable to make their own voices heard. She is a reporter who told the truth, and in doing so, angered the powerful elite.

We must protect those who speak truth to power, not punish them. I and my fellow AFTRA members are concerned about Ms. Saberi’s well-being, and we are deeply troubled by what appears to be a grave miscarriage of justice and a violation of her rights as an American citizen living and working abroad.

As the National President of AFTRA, the union that represents the voices and faces of professional broadcast journalists around the nation, I urge your administration to request that the Iranian government expedite a formal review of Ms. Saberi’s case and to release and return her to the United States as soon as possible.

I appreciate your attention to the concerns of AFTRA members, and I am available to speak with you at your convenience about this very serious matter.

In solidarity,

Roberta Reardon National President AFTRA

http://www.aftra.com/press/pr_2009_4_20_letter_to_obama.html
 

June 2, 2009

The New York SAG Board (APR. 3, 2009)


A Message from New York Division President Sam Freed

 
To the New York Membership:
 
 A tentative deal has been reached on our Commercials Contract.  The proposed contract, unanimously approved by the joint negotiating committee, must now go to the joint Boards of both SAG and AFTRA for approval and then be ratified by the membership.  
 
 This negotiation marks a tremendous accomplishment for both our unions and the industry.  We should all be incredibly proud and thankful for the work done by the joint committee that consisted of both elected and volunteer members.  The national Chairs of the Committee, New York Secretary Treasurer Sue Anne Morrow for SAG and National President Roberta Reardon for AFTRA should be especially congratulated for their leadership.  Lead negotiators John McGuire, Mathis Dunn and Ray Rodriguez were equally masterful in negotiating a deal that will serve our membership for the next 3 years.
 
 You will be provided with more details about the proposed contract once the joint Boards approve it.  But in short this deal preserves Class A residuals, increases minimums across the board, increases pension and health contributions and sets standards for the internet and new media.
 
 The solid gains in this proposal are made even more phenomenal considering the economic atmosphere in which they were made. I am eager to present them to you for your consideration and ratification.
 
 We are moving forward.
 
 In Solidarity,
 
 Sam Freed
 New York Division President

AFTRA/SAG Commercial Agreement (APR. 1, 2009)


AFTRA AND SAG REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH ADVERTISING INDUSTRY ON NEW COMMERCIALS CONTRACTS

NEW YORK (APRIL 1, 2009)—Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today that the AFTRA/SAG Joint Negotiating Committee has reached a unanimous tentative agreement with the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) on terms for successor agreements to the AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts and the SAG Television Commercials Contract, subject to approval by the SAG/AFTRA Joint National Board.

 

The new three-year agreement contains a more than $36 million increase in wage rates and other payments for all categories of performers in the first year of the contracts, approximately $21 million in increased contributions to the SAG Pension and Health Plan and the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund, establishment of a payment structure for work made for the Internet and other New Media platforms, important new monitoring provisions, and improvements for choreographers, extras, and Spanish language performers.

The new contracts also contain an agreement in principle outlining terms for a pilot study for the purpose of testing the Gross Rating Points (GRP) model of restructuring compensation to performers as proposed by Booz & Co. The two-year study is scheduled to commence on April 15 and will be conducted by a jointly retained consultant engaged by the Unions and the Industry. The results and possible adoption of the study’s findings will be subject to negotiation by the parties not later than January 3, 2012.

The unions successfully protected the critical “Class A” payment structure and continued unchanged the editing provisions in the existing contract.

Highlights of the new agreement include:

•    Three-year agreement, term effective April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012
•    5.1% overall increase in wages and other compensation over the life of the contracts, including a 4.43% increase, effective April 1, 2009, in Class A, Wild Spot, and basic cable session fees
•    For product made for the Internet or in New Media, 1.3 times the minimum session fee for 8 week’s use and 3.5 times the minimum session fee for one year’s use
•    0.5% increase in the employer contribution rate to the AFTRA H&R and SAG P&H plans bringing the total contribution rate to 15.3%. The agreement provides for a cap on P&H and H&W contributions, but the committee successfully negotiated the industry from their initial demand of $250,000 to $1,000,000 per performer, per contract, per year.
•    Secured five, new covered jobs for commercial extras, up from 40 to 45
•    Established new exclusivity provisions for made-for cable only commercials
•    Instituted, for the first time, a contract provision to pay extras a round-trip mileage fee of $8
•    Increased foreign use payments under the Spanish Language section of the contract

“The AFTRA and SAG commercials contracts provide our members with the solid foundation they need to sustain their careers and families,” observed AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and AFTRA Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee. “In this round of negotiations, during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we successfully improved wages and expanded benefits to keep our members working now and in the future. This is a major victory for our unions—and a victory for organized labor as a whole—and I applaud the Joint Negotiating Committee for their vision, hard work, and solidarity.”

“I am so proud of the work of our Joint Negotiating Committee. It was a hard-fought negotiation and our greatest victory was in protecting Class A residuals payments.  By securing a joint study to research and develop a workable compensation model, our negotiating committee protected every member who works under these contracts across the country,” said Sue-Anne Morrow, Screen Actors Guild Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee.

“Our Joint Negotiating Committee held together in the face of some very tough issues and they stood firm for our core principles.  We have achieved a deal that brings significant improvements to these contracts. Our gains include establishing the first-ever payment structure for made-for-the Internet and new media commercials and significant increases in wages during a very troubled global economy. I am proud to take this tentative deal to our Joint National Board,” said John T. McGuire, Screen Actors Guild Chief Negotiator.

“The Joint Negotiating Committee provided us with clear objectives borne out of the nationwide Wages and Working conditions meetings leading up to the negotiations,” said Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., Chief Negotiator for AFTRA and Assistant National Executive Director for Commercials, Non-Broadcast, and Interactive Media.“ Among the priorities, our members asked us to increase minimum compensation and preserve Class A. We achieved those objectives and more, including agreement on a test study that will allow for a meaningful exploration of how best to adapt our contracts to meet the changing needs of all performers working in the shifting landscape of new technology.”

Formal negotiations between the 26-member AFTRA/SAG Joint Negotiating Committee and the Industry began on February 23 and concluded on the morning of April 1 in New York City.

Details of the new agreement will be submitted to the SAG/AFTRA Joint National Board for approval at a date to be determined, and if approved, will be jointly mailed to the membership of both unions for ratification thereafter.

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