Contrary views in SAG ballot

Enclosed report urges 'no' vote on new contract with producers

Contract ratification ballots sent to SAG and AFTRA members in the last few days include for the first time a report urging a “no” vote on the proposed new contract with producers.

The hierarchy of the two actors’ unions — the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists — was torn as to whether to allow members to see the report, which spells out the views of the 30% of officers and board members who voted against the agreement.

The report’s writers complain that the pact offers no change in cable and foreign residuals. “Instead you get a study the producers wanted, rather than real money now,” the report says, referring to a two-year probe of residuals agreed to by both sides.

The report also complained that the 3.5% increase in residual payments to actors over three years is “only a cost-of-living adjustment.”

Other points of contention include the fact that, despite a 20% increase in Fox residuals, the net “still pays 33% less than the other three networks.”

The package sent to members also says a majority of the actors’ negotiating team “voted to recommend this package as one of the richest overall deals we have ever made.”

It includes a 20% increase in most schedule breaks, recognition of dancers as principal performers in TV, improvements for stunt performers, and better protection for members when they work in Canada.

SAG/AFTRA members with questions about the contract may address guild leaders during a meeting Sunday in L.A. Members’ ratification votes must be cast by 5 p.m. on June 30.