New pact goes into effect July 1

With scant opposition, members of the Screen Actors Guild have ratified a new three-year contract covering basic cable live action programming.

SAG announced Tuesday that the new pact, which goes into effect July 1, was ratified by 96% of those voting. Ballots were mailed to 98,704 SAG members with 25% returned.

Results mirrored those for the primetime feature contract, approved last month by 93.5% of members of SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists with a return rate of 25%.

Deal, reached with the congloms last fall, includes 2% annual increases in minimum wages and a hike in pension and health contributions from 15% to 16.5% along with the concession of elimination of the first-class travel requirement.

Members of the Directors Guild of America also ratified a new three-year deal last month with similar gains to the SAG-AFTRA deal.

There’s still no word from the Writers Guild of America as to when it will start negotiations — despite its looming May 1 expiration of its current deal, hammered out after the 2007-08 strike.

WGA members approved the official list of demands for its master contract with over 90% approval. Key issues included increased minimums, higher contributions for pension and health, increased residuals for basic cable and new media, boosting pay rates at the CW to those of other networks, increasing home video residuals and expanding WGA jurisdiction to motion capture, animation and videogames.

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