The union announced Tuesday that it had taken the action due to the impossibility of holding in-person meetings during the coronavirus pandemic and the impracticality of holding large meetings even electronically.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “This resolution reflects the determination of SAG-AFTRA’s elected leaders to protect its members quickly during this constantly evolving global crisis.”
The resolution passed with 93.73% voting yes and 6.27% voting no. More than 96% of the votes of the board were cast in the poll. The motion was presented to the board with the unanimous recommendation of Carteris, the national officers and the executive committee.
The resolution did not mention that SAG-AFTRA’s master contract covering feature film and primetime will expire on June 30, but the it’s likely that the performers union will have to extend that expiration. The action did transfer authority from the national board to the executive committee over approving master contracts for ratification by the membership.
The SAG-AFTRA action was taken on the same day that the WGA leadership told its members that the guild need to extend to the current contract beyond its current May 1 expiration due to the pandemic. The coronavirus prevention measures appear to have made it untenable for the sides to hold a face-to-face bargaining session.
The WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are trying to come to terms on an extension date for the guild’s existing Minimum Basic Agreement that covers most film and TV work. Given the upheaval to regular business brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it appears that the sides need more time to negotiate what is sure to be a tough negotiation.
SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 performers, closed its national headquarters in Los Angeles on March 20 in response to the pandemic.
In the resolution, the national board authorized the executive committee to establish a program for relief from dues and late payment charges. The board also authorized the executive committee to adopt special rules and procedures relating to the leniency on the rules for termination of membership for non-payment of dues.
The national board also delegated authority to the executive committee to consider and adopt the union’s budget for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2021. It also ratified the decision by Carteris and National Executive Director David White to postpone the April national board meeting to a date to be determined.