SAG National Board Approves Tentative Pact With Studios


The Screen Actors Guild national board of directors today approved a new two-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The 71-member board, by a 53% to 47% vote, approved the successor agreements to the 2005 codified contract with AMPTP and will now recommend it to SAG's 120,000 members for a vote. Ratification ballots will be mailed to eligible SAG members in early May, with an expected return date at the end of the month.

The proposed pact, concluding June 30, 2011, calls for 3.5% effective annual increases comprising a 3% wage increase and a 0.5% pension and health contribution increase upon ratification, and a 3.5% wage increase in year two. The actors union's contract expired on June 30, 2008.

The board's approval came two days after SAG executives and the studios reached a tentative deal, which was keyed in large part by the June 30, 2011 expiration, which is co-terminus with the contracts reached by the WGA, DGA and AFTRA. As such, the unions' future negotiations can be made in lockstep, relative to the deadline.

"I urge members to carefully review both the pros and cons in the referendum materials, and exercise their right to vote," said SAG national president Alan Rosenberg in a statement.

Noted SAG chief negotiator John McGuire: "This tentative agreement delivers increased contributions to the SAG pension plan, increased minimums, a significant gain in background actor numbers from 50 to 55 over the term of the contract, and it tracks the new media provisions achieved by other entertainment industry unions. The term of the agreement puts SAG in sync with the other unions, and does not include the extended term recently proposed by the AMPTP."

In addition to the salary and pension and health contribution increase, the proposed contract calls for a new-media structure that tracks those achieved by other industry unions, resulting in gains for actors including:

* Jurisdiction on all derivative, made-for new media productions; automatic jurisdiction on all high-budget, original, made-for new media productions; plus jurisdiction on low budget original, new media productions that employee at least one covered performer;

* Residuals for exhibition of TV and theatrical motion pictures on consumer pay platforms (electronic sell through) at a greater percentage than those paid for DVD distribution;

* Residuals for ad-supported streaming of feature films and television programs;

* Residuals for derivative new-media programs;

* Additional five covered background actors in feature films. From 50 to 53 covered background positions upon ratification of the contract, and from 53 to 55 covered background positions in the second year;

* Adds one covered background position in TV, from 19 to 20;

* Increased compensation for guest star premium from 7.5% to 10%;

* Increased trailer money break from $2,500 to $3,000, or more per week; and

* Increased overtime money break for three-day performers from $2,700 to $3,000.

On Saturday,SAG and AFTRA's joint board approved a three-year contract covering commercials on TV and radio.