Showbizreporting's Blog

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.

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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.”

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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.

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June 5, 2009

A letter from Rosenberg

June 4, 2009

Make Your Voice Heard This Week (June 1, 2009)

SAG TV/Theatrical Contract Just like your National Board and negotiators, Tom Hanks believes the TV/Theatrical tentative agreement is a smart deal and a pro-active move for SAG members. Please go to http://www.sag.org to see a short video of Tom explaining why he voted YES. You can also view other newly added videos (including this one on protecting your future in New Media: http://www.sag.org/protect-your-future-new-media ) and sign the TV/Theatrical Statement of Support which can be found at: http://www.sag.org/tvtheatrical-statement-support . If you haven’t voted yet, please find your ballot, VOTE YES, and mail it right away. The June 9th deadline is approaching fast, and every vote counts. If you believe it is time for SAG to move forward, YOU must act – don’t leave this crucial decision to others. Make sure your vote arrives in time to be counted. Ballots should be mailed NO LATER than June 6th. AFTRA Board Elections AFTRA members: your board election ballots must be mailed TODAY – the deadline is 9AM Wednesday, June 3rd. UFS urges you to vote for the candidates of the AFTRA Leadership Team. For more information and a complete voting guide, go to http://www.aftraleadershipteam.com MPTF Rally TODAY Hollywood members: There is a rally Monday June 1st in Woodland Hills from 4:30 – 8:00 PM to support efforts to keep the Motion Picture Television Fund long-term nursing care facility open. The planned closure of the facility has caused deep concern throughout the entertainment community, and this rally is a valuable opportunity to make your voice heard. For more information and full details visit: http://www.uniteforstrength.com/MPTFrally.pdf . – UNITE FOR STRENGTH – Want to support a YES vote on the SAG TV/Th contract? By volunteering just a couple of hours as a phone bank caller, you can help spread the word about the importance of voting YES. Volunteers are needed now through Jun. 5, so please contact SAG right away if you can help. Call Nayla Wren at 323-549-6592 or Jackie Perez at 323-549-6894 or email nwren@sag.org with the subject ‘Volunteer.’

June 3, 2009

Message from SAG’S NY DIVISION PRESIDENT SAM FREED (APR. 22, 2009)


Message from SAG’s New York Division President Sam Freed

Dear New York Guild Member,

There were two significant events this past weekend that will affect the
lives of New York actors and Guild members across the country.

On Saturday at a meeting of the joint board of SAG and AFTRA, there was a vote to send a proposed Commercials contract to our joint membership for ratification. This marks the conclusion of a successful effort of both our unions to negotiate together for the benefit of all of us. The proposal will come to you with a unanimous approval of the joint negotiating committee and a recommendation to vote “YES” from both institutions. Details of the contract will be provided with your ballot that you will receive in a few weeks.

On Sunday at a meeting of the SAG National Board, there was a vote to send a proposed TV/Theatrical contract to SAG members for ratification. This marks the end of an extended negotiation that has left us working without a contract since July 1 of last year. This contract will come to you with a recommendation to vote “YES” from both the Board and the recently constituted Negotiating Task Force that helped bring these negotiations to a conclusion.

You will receive detailed information about this contract along with your ballot. But in short the gains achieved go directly to the needs of the middle class actor. Raises in minimums, increases in major role performer premiums and the increases in residuals for primetime series reruns represent real dollars in member’s pockets. There is a .5% increase in pension and health contributions bringing the total contribution to 15%, a gain made even more significant given the state of our economy and the hits our funds have taken. Jurisdiction is awarded in New Media with the establishment of a residual structure. A residual formula is created for movie and television downloadsthat represents an increase over the DVD formula.

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

Lead Negotiator and Guild Senior Advisor John McGuire deserves much credit for getting these negotiations back on track and making improvements from the deal that was presented back in June of last year. David White, our new Interim NED, was instrumental in getting the AMPTP to move off their position of the term of the contract. The membership owes them much for their efforts.

Ballots for this contract will be sent20out in early May. You will have opportunities to learn more about the contract in consideration of your vote. Ratification will not only guarantee increases in terms and conditions but it will end the uncertainty that working without a contract has caused. Production can gear up once again and we can get back to work.

The recent changes that your Board has made are bearing fruit. We continue to move forward.

In
Solidarity,

Sam Freed
New York Division President

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