Unions to use residuals study cited during thesp talks

With the lengthly contract saga of the Screen Actors Guild concluded, Hollywood’s upcoming negotiations appear likely to be much lower key.

The next two major negotiations involve the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists’ network code contract, which expires Nov. 15, and the Directors Guild of America’s basic agreement, which expires June 30.

Both unions will employ the same data that SAG used from a residuals study generated by the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers as part of agreements in their last negotiations. SAG and AFTRA used the data in their just-concluded negotiations for the film-TV contract.

AFTRA has already announced it expects to launch negotiations in October with the Alliance of Motion Picutre & Television Producers on the network code pact, which covers broadcasters, daytime soap actors, talk and game show hosts, sports announcers and performers on syndicated entertainment shows. The contract generates $400 million annually for members of AFTRA, who have generally been more moderate than SAG; about 40,000 performers are in both unions.

The current three-year pact gave a 3% increase in daily pay rates during the first year of the contract and 3.5% increases in each of the second and third years. AFTRA also agreed, as did SAG and the DGA, to defer part of the residuals negotiations to this round.

The DGA given few signals so far other than tapping Jack Shea as prexy for a third term. Shea stressed that he had decided to sign on again due to the need to follow through on crafting a deal.

Shea gave no indication of when talks will start. But in what could be a telling comment, he said the emergence of new technologies make the upcoming negotiations particularly important.

The DGA used fast-track negotiations to reach its current pact, arriving at a tentative agreement five months before expiration. However, the complexities of Internet jurisdiction and delivery systems may prevent a repeat of an early resolution.

The DGA, which reps 12,000 members, has called only one strike in its history. That came in 1987 and was settled in less than three hours.

Ratification outlook

The final steps to complete the tentative deal will begin Tuesday night with the Western joint boards of SAG and AFTRA meet to approve the agreement at SAG headquarters in Los Angeles. The Eastern section will then meet Thursday and ratification ballots will go out a few days later with details of the contract officially disclosed for the first time.

Due date for return of ballots will likely be in early August with heavy support expected for ratification. The contract’s effective date will be retroactive to June 30 but until then, the terms of the expired contract apply.

In another contract impacting the industry, the pact for the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists will expire at the end of this year. ACTRA reps attended the recent SAG/AFTRA talks.

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