We want to thank the hundreds of members around the country who have so far participated in the process – called wages and working conditions (W&W) – by which member input is given to your negotiators for the new TV/Theatrical contract covering movies, television and new media. Our W&W process, jointly conducted with AFTRA and required by SAG’s constitution, will conclude March 31, 2008. The TV/Theatrical contract expires June 30, 2008. Sometime after March 31, 2008 we will begin formal negotiations with the employers’ representative, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
We want to begin formal negotiations as soon as we have the best chance to finish the negotiations with a fair agreement, acceptable to SAG members. In the meantime, and while we finish the W&W process, we are doing the other things necessary to prepare. That preparation includes assembling up-to-date financial, economic and member earnings’ data. In the coming weeks we will be meeting with management to exchange information and our perspectives on the state of the industry. We will also meet with management to work on the schedule and logistics of negotiations. Our lines of communication with management have been and will continue to be open. Given the experience of the DGA and WGA in their recent negotiations, we will certainly continue to meet with the CEO’s of the major networks and studios as we prepare for formal negotiations.
There are a number of issues very important to actors that have not been dealt with in either the DGA or WGA contracts, just as some of their most important issues only affected their memberships. The compression of compensation for middle class working actors and forced endorsement by product integration, for example, must be addressed in our negotiations. Also, the impact of some of the new media provisions of the DGA or WGA contracts would fall more harshly on actors than on writers and directors. SAG and AFTRA must negotiate an agreement that is in the best interest of actors.
The impact of the calendar on the industry, particularly its impact on movies not yet in production, affects actors and employers. It is important that our response to the urgency of the calendar is thoughtful, measured, and productive. We cannot ignore the calendar. Neither should we impose deadlines on ourselves, in essence bargaining against ourselves. We will diligently and patiently finish the work necessary to best position your negotiating committee to secure a contract that will address the needs of the membership. That work will include determining with AFTRA, and then with the AMPTP, when our negotiations will begin. That date will be as soon as possible, but not before we finish our member-driven W&W process and not until we are in a position to finish what we start. Your elected and staff leadership will do everything we can to achieve the results you deserve. We appreciate your continuing support. We are proud to represent you in these critical negotiations.
Alan Rosenberg Doug Allen
President National Executive Director