SAG prexy Barry Gordon lauded the guild’s powerhouse record earnings report Monday, but worried that it could send the wrong signal. The report reflected an $ 83.7 million jump in annual income for thesps.
“These earnings do not tell the whole story,” Gordon told Daily Variety. “While it’s gratifying to see that overall earnings of our members have been on the rise, these figures still do not alleviate my concern over certain performers whose abilities to make a living in this business have been greatly eroded in the last few years.”
Gordon pointed to such “so-called middle-class” guest performers in episodic TV and long forms that have seen their rights whittled down.
“These are problems that must be addressed in the upcoming theatrical negotiations in 1995,” he said.
Overall, Screen Actors Guild earnings hit an all-time high for 1993, totaling $ 1.2 billion, a 7.5% jump over 1992.
The largest source of income for thesps derived from TV commercials, where actors earned a record $ 445 million. TV pix and series accounted for an additional $ 427 million. Feature contracts garnered $ 312 mil for guild members , a 26% leap from 1992’s total.
One SAG source agreed with Gordon, saying that such grandiose figures can be misinterpreted by members of a union whose unemployment rate is often in the stratosphere.
SAG’s highest wage-earners were not included in the earnings report because it was based on data from the guild’s Pension and Health Funds, which do not require employers to contribute pension and health payments on earnings above certain ceilings.