SAG board approves TV toon contract

Agreement includes annual 3% increase in min. pay

HOLLYWOOD – SAG’s national board on Saturday ratified a new, three-year TV animation contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that runs retroactively from July 1 through June 30, 2008.

New agreement includes an annual 3% increase in minimum pay — a little more than a 9% increase over the life of the contract, compounded — and 1% boost to the union’s benefits plans beginning Jan. 1. The member-led negotiating committee was headed by Anne Talltree.

In a concession the guild considers essential for future organizing and negotiations, producers assented to union demands for earnings tracking. Producers will recommend to the trustees of the union’s pension and health plans to create a method to track earnings under the new contract. Previously, member earnings were not separately reported.

The approval of the animation contract comes just days after the union approved a new interactive contract with vidgame publishers. On Thursday, SAG members voted to accept a thrice-extended interactive pact with an 81% endorsement — but only after a roller-coaster ride of internal politics ran its course. Deal was originally approved unanimously by the union’s negotiating committee, but the national executive committee rejected the vidgame publishers’ offer, prompting the guildwide referendum that finally sealed the deal.

“The national board recognizes that this TV animation agreement contains substantial gains for our members,” said Greg Hessinger, SAG’s recently installed CEO. “Now that we’ve ratified this important contract, SAG turns its attention to negotiating new basic-cable agreements. Live-action and animation programming on basic cable have generated enormous revenues in recent years and the current residual structures must be addressed.”

Under the new deal, SAG granted producers the right to theatrically exhibit TV animation shorts for one week to qualify for Academy Award consideration.

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