×

SAG-AFTRA Merger Praised By U.S. Labor Secretrary

Perez keynotes third day of convention

The federal government’s top labor official has praised SAG-AFTRA leaders for pushing through last year’s merger.

“There’s an old saying there is strength in numbers,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in a keynote speech Saturday to more than 300 delegates at the first-ever SAG-AFTRA convention at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.

“As you embark on this remarkable journey together as one, the fact of the matter is, people can’t play you off against each other anymore — that’s really important,” Perez added.

Members of SAG and AFTRA voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger in March, 2012, after SAG voters turned down previous efforts in 1999 and 2003. Merger proponents campaigned for the combo on the grounds that the combined performers union would have more clout at the bargaining table. The new union reps about 165,000 performers.

SAG-AFTRA reached a new three-year deal in April on its commercials contract with the advertising industry, calling for a 6% wage hike and for Pension and Health contributions to increase from 15.5% to 16.8%. The contract, which currently covers about $1 billion in annual earnings, will see increases in payments of $238 million over its term.

Prior to the negotiations, the union held the required “wages and working conditions” meetings with members to formulate its proposal but made no subsequent efforts to mobilize the members about the issues — a sharp contrast with efforts in 2000, when SAG and AFTRA struck for six months against the ad industry.

SAG-AFTRA’s master contract covering film and primetime TV work expires June 30. No negotiations have been set.

Perez also said in his remarks, “I want to thank you for the work that you do. While I go into the court of law, you go into the court that is much bigger. That’s the court of public opinion – winning the minds and hearts of the people.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a similar endorsement of the merger in his remarks on the convention’s opening day on Thursday.

“One of the major goals across our labor movement is strengthening the power of unions,” he said. “And I have no doubt that the merger of SAG and AFTRA has built a much, much stronger union. It’s a victory for your combined membership. Labor makes possible the joy and wonder that I feel – and all of us in the viewing public feel – when we’re transported by the magic that you do.”

 

 

More TV

  • Jon Wax

    Jon Wax Joins Amazon Studios as Head of Genre Programming (EXCLUSIVE)

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming Jon Wax is joining Amazon Studios as its head of genre programming, Variety has learned. Wax will take up the position recently vacated by Sharon Tal Yguado. He had joined YouTube in August 2017, heading up drama, unscripted and current programming for YouTube’s premium channel. Prior to that, he had [...]

  • South Park Donald Trump

    TV News Roundup: Comedy Central Sets 'South Park' Season 23 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Comedy Central announces the premiere date of “South Park” Season 23 and Netflix sets the premiere date and offers a first look at “Unbelievable.”  DATES Comedy Central announced that Season 23 of “South Park” will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. Because the episodes are written and animated so [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Shouldn't Be Exonerated in Hollywood Even as Criminal Case Ends (Column)

    The news that criminal charges against Kevin Spacey in the Nantucket groping case have been dropped raises an inevitable question: does this mean he can claw his way back into Hollywood’s good graces? Or maybe more importantly: should it?  Spacey’s rapid descent was startling, even as it quickly followed that of the once untouchable producing [...]

  • Game of Thrones

    HBO's Return to Emmy Nomination Dominance May Be Short-Lived (Column)

    As Hollywood braces for the coming streaming wars, HBO’s huge Emmy nomination haul this week sent a new salvo Netflix’s way: The streamer may have the volume, but HBO still has the goods. At least this year. HBO’s record-breaking 137 nominations came on the strength of just 23 programs — led, of course, by “Game [...]

  • Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

    Starz Nears Realignment: Why Lionsgate Won't Hire a CEO to Replace Chris Albrecht

    Nearly six months after Starz CEO Chris Albrecht exited in February, Lionsgate brass is moving closer to a revamp of the premium TV network’s executive structure. According to insiders, at least one thing is clear: Albrecht is not expected to be replaced as CEO. Instead, Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer is taking a more active [...]

  • Titans Ep. 102

    'Titans' Crew Member Dies After Stunt Goes Wrong at Special Effects Facility

    A crew member of DC Universe show “Titans” died following an incident during rehearsal at a special effects facility in Toronto on Thursday. The stunt, which involved a car, went awry when a piece of the car broke off unexpectedly and struck a special effects coordinator. Production will be shut down for two days. “We [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content