SAG-AFTRA Planning Contract Talks for 2014

Sag Aftra

'Early next year, we begin contact talks' - Ken Howard

SAG-AFTRA leaders are planning to begin contract negotiations next year  on a successor deal to its feature-primetime contract  — rather than this year.

No date has been set for the start of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for the successor to the current master contract, which expires June 30. Both the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA declined comment.

But  several insiders have said privately that they are expecting the union to hold its “wages and working conditions” meetings in February. Those meetings are required for the union to formulate its proposals for the negotiations.

Additionally, SAG-AFTRA co-president Ken Howard gave an explicit indication the talks will take place next year in an endorsement letter issued Thursday for the New York-based United Screen Actors Nationwide and Mike Hodge for New York Local President.

“Early next year we begin contract talks for Film, TV, Cable, and New Media and no one will fight harder to protect actors than Mike Hodge and USAN,” Howard said.

SAG-AFTRA — formed 15 months ago by the merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists –will hold its first election this summer, followed in late September by its first convention.

The apparent decision to wait until next year to begin negotiations with the AMPTP contrasts with the situation in 2010, when the performers unions reached an agreement nearly eight months prior to expiration. SAG and AFTRA were the first unions to make a deal during that cycle, followed by the Directors Guild of America, then the Writers Guild of America.

The DGA and WGA had no comment as to when negotiations might take place but the DGA is further along in its planning. In February, it named Michael Apted and Thomas Schlamme as co-heads of its negotiating committee.

Paris Barclay, named on June 22 as the new DGA president, said at that point that the negotiating committee had not yet met.

As with SAG-AFTRA, the current DGA deal expires June 30 while the WGA master contract ends May 1.  The WGA has tended to opt for starting negotiations closer to expiration than its counterparts, based on the idea that bringing that time pressure on employers improves the odds of achieving the best deal.

The DGA has shown a preference for making a deal without an expiration looming, often by more than six months. That strategy reflects the notion that the companies will opt for the best terms at that point in exchange for the assurance of labor peace.

During the last round of negotiations in 2010 and 2011, the unions’ key gains came in increasing the amount of employer contributions to the health and pension plans — which are operated separately from the unions and are overseen by a board comprising equal numbers of reps from the companies and the unions.

The SAG-AFTRA negotiations are likely to include discussions of the expressed desire by leaders to merge the separate SAG and AFTRA health and pension plans.

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  1. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested
    to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  2. Working Actor says:

    Cooper, you don’t have your facts straight. The union has to wait for all contracts to expire before they can negotiate new ones. Thus the timing for the upcoming theatrical negotiations. Even before merger we knew when the expiration date of this contract was. Without merger, there was the probability of two unions once again competing for work under the same contract, thus dividing and diluting P&H. And it’s only after merger we can prevent this by negotiating one contract for one union. There are no guarantees after this negotiation the P&H plans will merge. A merged P&H is indeed the goal. But there was a 100% guarantee had we not merged the P&H would not, and could not merge.

    • Cooper says:

      Please don’t attack people for expressing their fears & concerns. I know the facts better than most & want people to take voting in this election the same if not MORE importantly than the one for the merger where SAG-AFTRA members voted/returned ballots ~ 53% & 52%, respectively. Many claimed to not vote in silent protest(?!?) maybe as I heard it out of a few people’s mouths.

      I know the facts: TV & Film contracts don’t Sunset til 6/30/14 and the election/reelection results arrive Mid-August. That does not preempt there being committee meetings until February 2014 unless they need the potentials on what the health and pension plans may/could be.

      There are no barriers to the proposed merger of the health and pension plans. It was backed by six independent lawyers who specialize in unions and the merger of them, ETC. As well as a huge examples of what can be done such as Major cities like NYC that have merged 5 or more separate unions with a variety of city workers that encompassed more numbers than our membership and were successfully merged. At this rate, it is all definitely pushed back to 1/1/15 with the potential of a bright bright future ahead for all of us, but we all need to keep our eye on the prizeincluding the individual union memberwho can make sure that the best people to lead us into that future are kept in office and/or voted for in the next election.

      Peace

  3. Cooper says:

    Great, now we have to wait at least another year and a half to where all of our, SAG & AFTRA’s Film and TV contracts, can be under the same health & pension program. Ironically continuing the problem for which many/most of us supported the merger in the first place along with stopping us from fighting with each other over contact negotiations.

    With MORE than a year to plan for contract negotiations since our merger and the leaders/committees need an other 6 months before they can even meet to discuss the contract negotiations?!? That does NOT bode well for our future & to be able to get all of our benefits under one roof!

    Maybe the lengthy thought process is over what needs to come 1st, the chicken or the egg: Basically, we’re talking about the new Health & Pension plans or new contracts. And how can you complete contract talks without knowing the details to be included in respect to the Employers making payments to the plan(s)?

    Really, really!?! This is a blatant disregard for the welfare of the majority of the membership, which is not only struggling to make a living but also to make our benefits. I, for one, am one of those people who DOES work on principal contracts but whose career is still in a developmental state. A feature film for the web which I worked upon in 2012 under the new media contract allowed me the pleasure of earning $7.50/hour, which one can not make a living nor gain benefits. These types of opprtunities along with other 1st-class principal contracts are not enough to make either goal (continuing living wage & benefits) so I and a LOT of my colleagues have to do Background work to supplement our P&H earnings and/or hours/days.

    Until the new contracts are negotiated to create a parity to which we can earn toward a single Health & Pension program, the “leadership” is abandoning us in our sinking ships without a liferaft!

    I would consider thanking the present leaders who have gotten us thus far & ask the membership to consider all of this when voting for the next leadership elections. We might need to move onto NEW leadership who have the vision to complete the goals this merger was we voted upon… To solidify our future!

    • Cooper says:

      Please don’t attack people for expressing their fears & concerns. I know the facts better than most & want people to take voting in this election the same if not MORE importantly than the one for the merger where SAG-AFTRA members voted/returned ballots ~ 53% & 52%, respectively. Many claimed to not vote in silent protest(?!?) maybe as I heard it out of a few people’s mouths.

      I know the facts: TV & Film contracts don’t Sunset til 6/30/14 and the election/reelection results arrive Mid-August. That does not preempt there being committee meetings until February 2014 unless they need the potentials on what the health and pension plans may/could be.

      There are no barriers to the proposed merger of the health and pension plans. It was backed by six independent lawyers who specialize in unions and the merger of them, ETC. As well as a huge examples of what can be done such as Major cities like NYC that have merged 5 or more separate unions with a variety of city workers that encompassed more numbers than our membership and were successfully merged. At this rate, it is all definitely pushed back to 1/1/15 with the potential of a bright bright future ahead for all of us, but we all need to keep our eye on the prizeincluding the individual union memberwho can make sure that the best people to lead us into that future are kept in office and/or voted for in the next election.

      Peace

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