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SAG/AFTRA, AMPTP Reach a Tentative Deal Multi-Ef­fects Plugins
Old 9th November 2010
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SAG/AFTRA, AMPTP Reach a Tentative Deal

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SAG/AFTRA, AMPTP Reach a Tentative Deal
11/07/2010
SAG and AFTRA have reached a tentative agreement with the conglomerates for a new three-year master contract for film and primetime TV -- more than seven months before the current pact expires.

Key gains include a 2% annual wage increase and a 10% hike in employer contributions to the pension and health plans, which boosts the overall figure to 16.5% -- which the unions touted as the largest gain in two decades. If ratified by the unions' boards and members, the deal will go into effect on July 1.

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists made the joint announcement early Sunday morning, following six weeks of negotiations that had taken place under a news blackout at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers headquarters in Sherman Oaks.

"Strengthening the Pension and Health Plans was our top priority in these negotiations -- making such a significant gain in that area was a vital achievement," said SAG president Ken Howard in a statement.

Leaders of both SAG and AFTRA had opted for a nonconfrontational strategy during the bargaining and had provided no guidance to members as to their priorities. That approach reflects the ascendance of the moderate coalition that's gained power at SAG during the past two years, replacing the more aggressive Membership First faction.

Achieving a deal with an absence of fireworks or saber-rattling comes in sharp contrast to SAG's last round of contract talks with the majors. Squabbling between AFTRA and SAG led to the unions opting to ditch negotiations with AFTRA for the first time in more than 25 years.

The DGA has continued to emphasize in recent communications with members that pension and health will be a priority. SAG and AFTRA, by contrast, had refused to disclose anything about their bargaining strategy. The DGA deal also expires June 30 with talks expected to start around November 15.

Employers' contributions to union pension and health plans are calculated as a percentage of the total compensation paid to members of that union. For the DGA, employers contribute an additional 14% of the total compensation paid to directors to the DGA plans -- 8.5% to health and 5.5% to pension for the DGA. The WGA receives 14.5% (8.5% health, 6% pension), while SAG receives 15% (9.25% health, 5.75% pension) as does AFTRA (9.75% health, 5.25% pension). Those plans are operated separately from the unions and are overseen by a board comprised of equal numbers of reps from the companies and the unions.

The SAG-AFTRA strategy of negotiating more than half a year prior to expiration is in line with the DGA's preference for making a deal without an expiration looming. That strategy reflects the notion that the conglomerates will opt for the best terms at that point in exchange for the assurance of labor peace.

The Writers Guild of America has continued opt for an approach of negotiating with the expiration in sight, based on the idea that doing so improves the odds of achieving the best deal. The WGA contract expires May 1 -- two months earlier than SAG, AFTRA and the DGA -- but the writers have still not set a date with the AMPTP to start talks.

The AMPTP issued a brief statement Sunday noting, "The early agreements also ensure that production can continue without disruption for everyone who depends on this industry."

The new SAG-AFTRA deal also provides for two additional background positions in features and one additional background position in TV in the "Western Zones"; an expansion of major role provisions to apply to new pay TV series in their second season; expansion of coverage over made for new media productions; improved contract language designed to increase equal employment opportunities; and modifications in travel provisions.

Variety 11/7

The studios' and networks' Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made the first statement at 4:30 AM Sunday morning after 6 weeks of negotiating on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract jointly with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Both actor memberships will have to ratify the tentative pact whose announced highlights provide an expectedly small 2% wage increase per year because the emphasis of the talks was placed on increasing the current rate of employer contributions paid with an immediate 1.5% bump to bolster the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds. Friday was the final "official" day of bargaining, which began September 27th, but the two sides continued into the weekend.

This is the statement by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers:

“We are pleased to have successfully reached a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract with the Screen Actors Guild and a new prime time television contract with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The deals offer increases in benefit contributions, wages and other areas critical to working performers while being responsive to the current challenges facing feature film and television producers. The early agreements also ensure that production can continue without disruption for everyone who depends on this industry.”

And this is the joint statement by the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA:

Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) have reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements to the Producers-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs, Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs), and The CW Supplement.

The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, and ratification by the unions’ memberships. The current contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

Highlights of the new tentative agreement include:

* The term of the agreement is 3 years commencing July 1, 2011
* A 6% wage increase over the term of the agreement with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013
* A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011. This represents the largest dollar value increase to the plans, under these contracts, since the plans were founded and is the largest percentage increase to the plans in more than two decades
* Two additional background positions in theatrical and one additional background position in television in the Western Zones
* An expansion of major role provisions to apply to new pay television series commencing in their second season
* Expanded union coverage over made for new media productions
* Increases in the area of money and schedule breaks
* Improved contract language to increase equal employment opportunities for union performers.

The unions also agreed to modifications in the travel provisions of the contracts.

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard, said, “Strengthening the Pension and Health Plans was our top priority in these negotiations -- making such a significant gain in that area was a vital achievement. Increased wages across the contract and the expansion of the major role premium into pay television will not only put more money in performers’ pockets, but will provide yet another boost to our P&H funds. I’m grateful to have worked closely with AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and want to give special thanks to SAG Chief Negotiator David White and his bargaining team. All the staff and members of this joint committee, from both unions, deserve praise for their focus and dedication. We had to make some difficult decisions, but working together, we’ve reached a deal that will protect our essential pension and health benefits for years to come.”

AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said, “I am extremely pleased we met our goal of increasing contributions to our retirement and pension plans, and that we successfully completed this negotiation now to protect the needs of performers early in the process. I applaud AFTRA Chief Negotiator Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and I thank Screen Actors Guild Co-Chair President Howard for his strong and supportive leadership. Our joint negotiating committee worked together seamlessly and in solidarity, and I am very proud of their work.”

Details of the new agreement will be submitted for approval to the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. Upon approval, the pact will be sent out for joint ratification by the unions’ memberships.

Representatives of the following organizations attended one or more of the negotiating sessions as observers: Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters,(IBT), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Formal negotiations between the 26-member Joint Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Monday, Sept. 27, in Los Angeles. Talks were preceded by months of joint wages and working conditions meetings held this past summer.

Deadline Hollywood 11/7

With little fanfare, Hollywood’s movie and television production companies and its principal actors unions early on Sunday morning said they had agreed tentatively to a new three-year contract that provides a 6 percent increase in wages over three years, and increases health and benefits contributions by the companies. The agreement comes well in advance of the current contract’s expiration, in June 2011, and follows weeks of closed-door bargaining between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and both the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists. The early settlement points to a new mood in Hollywood labor relations, which have become less confrontational as both companies and unions try to cope with softer economic conditions. In late 2007, movie and television writers began a three-month strike, then members of the Screen Actors Guild worked for months without a contract during a contentious bargaining period. This time around, the actors guild bargained in tandem with a sister guild, the federation, and reached a tentative deal in a relatively trouble-free process. The new contract, which also provides for expanded coverage in the new media area, is subject to approval by members of the two unions.
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Old 9th November 2010
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ggegan's Avatar
I'm thrilled that they are playing nice this time, however, I'll be watching to see whether the money for the increase in payments for their benefits comes at the other craft unions' expense. We're already going to have to log 400 union hours every six months to qualify. If it rises above that in order to finance benefits for a lot of part time wanna be movie stars, I'll blow off the union and go totally commando.
Old 9th November 2010
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I've just heard a couple horror stories from friends about what's currently going on with both IATSE and A F of M pensions.
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