Org says on-time payments ensure screeners, awards eligibility

Setting the stage for its first elections next summer, SAG-AFTRA has reminded its 165,000 members that their dues are due Friday.

It’s the deadline for dues from the six months that ended Nov. 1 — the first full dues period since actiors approved the merger of SAG and AFTRA on March 30.

In its LM-2 report filed in July with the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the performers union said it had taken in $4.315 million as dues in its first month as a new union as part of $12.028 million in receipts while expenses totaled $13.581 million. That monthly dues figure would equate to about $52 million annually.

Each SAG-AFTRA member pays annual base dues of $198. In addition members pay 1.575% of all individual earnings under SAG or AFTRA contracts up to $500,000. Dues are calculated on an annual basis, and paid in two installments — the first on May 1, and the second on Nov. 1 with bills mailed before each due date.

Sources close to the situation said execs then told the national board at its meeting in late October that 25% of members had not yet paid their dues – a figure well above the typical figures for SAG and AFTRA. A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson had no comment.

In a missive sent Wednesday, SAG-AFTRA told members that elections would be held next year for all leadership positions. “Based on the expected calendar for the 2013 SAG-AFTRA elections, in order to meet the good standing eligibility requirement to be nominated for election as a national officer, national board member, local board member, or convention delegate, members should ensure their November dues bill payment is received by SAG-AFTRA no later than Friday, November 30, 2012.”

The message also said paying dues on time ensures eligibility to “for your consideration” screeners and vote for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. “Timely payment entitles you to participate in union activities and receive member benefits, and ensures that you will not be charged late payment fees,” it added.

The SAG-AFTRA national board — currrently at 110 members as a result of combining the SAG and AFTRA boards — has already started moving toward what it calls a “permanent governance structure” for next September with 70 board seats allotted for the 25 locals with Los Angeles having 28 seats and New York with 16. The 10 national officers also serve on the SAG-AFTRA national board bringing its total size to 80.

The new election structure will begin to go into effect between May and August, when the contests for president, secretary-treasurer and most board members will take place. An exec VP and seven other VPs will be elected at a convention in September.

SAG elections have often been volatile affairs but the 2011 contest was a mild one as the self-styled progressives in the Membership First faction did not enter a slate after being defeated convincingly by the self-described moderate faction — which avidly pursued merger — in the previous two years.

Currently, there are less than 10 Membership First members on the national board, most notably Frances Fisher, Elliott Gould, Ed Harris, Anne-Marie Johnson and Martin Sheen.

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