SAG-AFTRA Ratification Ballots Out to 137,000 Members


Voting has begun in SAG-AFTRA’s first-ever master contract covering work in movies, primetime TV and new media over three years.

The performers union has mailed notifications to approximately 137,000 members with instructions on how to vote online or how to request a paper ballot. Votes must be received by 5 p.m. PDT on Aug. 22 with tabulation immediately after the deadline.

Informational meetings about the new contracts will be held Aug. 5.

Union leaders launched a campaign a week ago to persuade members to vote “Yes,” listing the “top 10” reasons to do so — led by a $200 million increase in compensation over the three years. Those reasons were included in the referendum booklet mailed to members, signed by president Ken Howard and national exec director David White.

A few members have objected to the contract as falling short. But the Membership First group, which has usually provided much of the opposition in recent years to the policies of the moderate-leaning national board, has not weighed in on the tentative deal.

The booklet did not mention that the gains essentially mirrored those achieved earlier in the year by the new master contracts that were signed by the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America and that the increases in minimums for TV are based on the lower SAG rate.

If approved by members, the new contract will replace the separate SAG and AFTRA contracts which have remained in effect since the 2012 merger. Leaders have also asserted that ratification will pave the way for a merger of the separate SAG and AFTRA pension and health plans.

The new contract also specifies which plan will receive contributions for new TV shows — rather than allowing producers to make that choice. SAG’s Pension and Health Plan will receive contributions from new one-hour network shows, new half-hour basic cable shows, all shows made for syndication other than those for the CW, and those for new media, pay TV and home video.

AFTRA’s Health and Retirement fund will receive contributions on earnings from new half-hour network shows, new one-hour basic cable shows, all new longform TV shows  and everything made for CW.

Existing shows will continue to make contributions to the same plan.

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  1. Matt Mulhern says:

    You know what the pro-merger SAG, AFTRA and ESPECIALLY the AMPTP did to union actors without most union actors even NOTICING? “Trickle-down economics.” THE TOTALLY DISPROVEN ECONOMIC THEORY THAT HAS NEVER WORKED – AND NEVER WILL. Read some Paul Krugman. Please. Hollywood LOVES to fly its LIBERAL flag, but where the rubber meets the road? MONEY? They are as cut-throat as the MOST cut-throat REPUBLICAN lawmakers and businessmen. When Tom Hanks and George Clooney went to Alan Rosenberg’s house in 2008 (No? ASK HIM) and SAID 2 different versions of “fuck off and die – sign this contract” – what they were REALLY saying was: “If you don’t take these penny ante rank and file and background causes away from us being FORCED to support them if SAG strikes? Well, then, duh! – WE can’t (Clooney and Hanks) MAKE CONTENT – THAT EMPLOYS EVERYBODY – ESPECIALLY ACTORS!” In other words – “better to agree to a corporate-friendly merger, into a union that never strikes, and let us reassure our shaky investors every time a negotiation comes around, OR we won’t be able to CREATE JOBS!” That is the DEFINITION of “trickle-down economics!” Only problem? IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK – AND NEVER HAS. Why? Just as in other businesses, the LESS regulation you put on them to pay their workers fairly, so they can be “free to experiment and innovate” (exact words of producers in 2008 about new media) – the MORE MONEY THEY THEN STICK IN THEIR POCKETS. There is NO “TRICKLE DOWN” to UNION actors. Union actors, under this merger, just get less! Sure – stars – who are also PRODUCERS (THE biggest difference between new and old Hollywood) – LOVE NOT HAVING TO SUPPORT RANK AND FILE AND BACKGROUND CAUSES. Why? THERE IS NO MORE THREAT – WITH THIS NEW UNION – they will ever have to STOP their pipeline of movies, or TV shows, or mini-series for HBO, and support the VAST majority – 99% plus – of the rest of union actors! And then, does the money THEY make, that is supposed to trickle down to union actors from their “job creation” – EQUAL what we had in SAG? OF COURSE NOT! THEY DO EXACTLY WHAT THE REST OF CORPORATE AMERICA DOES WITH THE MONEY THAT IS SUPPOSED TO “TRICKLE DOWN” – THEY PUT IT IN THEIR OWN FUCKING POCKETS! It is the EXACT SAME ARGUMENT THESE STARS MADE THAT fucking MITT ROMNEY MADE in 2012! AND RONALD REAGAN STARTED MAKING IN 1980 — and it is PROVEN – REPEATEDLY – BY TOP ECONOMISTS – NOT TO WORK. It just puts MORE in the hands of the rich, and LESS in the hands of the working class, and the working poor, and leaves FAR less for a social safety net for the poor. WHO ARE YOU HOLLYWOOD? BARACK OBAMA or MITT ROMNEY? WHO ARE YOU – TOM HANKS AND GEORGE CLOONEY? You sure as hell aint no “liberal” when it comes to wealth inequity. You are as REPUBLICAN as they come.

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