Thesp guild preparing for contract negotiations

The Screen Actors Guild, preparing for commercial contract negotiations, announced Tuesday it will stage a large rally on Feb. 27 in Hollywood.

Details about the location of the afternoon event have not been completed but a SAG representative said several thousand members are expected to attend. SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are scheduled to begin negotiations with advertisers’ representatives from Feb. 14 to Feb. 25 in New York City and then resume March 11.

Both sides recently released initial proposals on the Internet with the unions seeking pay hikes of as much as 20%. SAG President William Daniels, elected last November after advocating a more aggressive bargaining stance and more open communication, has given high priority to improved pay for commercials shown on cable.

The unions drew a capacity crowd of 700 members last Saturday to a “town hall” meeting at SAG’s Los Angeles headquarters. The current three-year contract, under which AFTRA performs the radio work while both unions cover TV ads, expires March 31.

The last commercials strike took place in 1988 and lasted three weeks.

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