Los Angeles (February 28, 2005) – In national voting completed today, members of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) voted overwhelmingly to approve a new, three-year contract covering theatrical and television production.
The new pact goes into effect July 1, 2005 and will remain in force until June 30, 2008. SAG, AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached tentative agreement in January on the deal, which provides over $200 million in wages, benefits, new jobs and other improvements for working performers.
Overall, the memberships of SAG and AFTRA voted 76.5 percent to 23.5 percent in favor of the new agreement. The vote count in Hollywood was 67.8 percent to 32.2 percent in favor. In New York, the vote count was 81.8 percent to 18.2 percent in favor. And in the regional branches and locals, the vote count was 87.3 percent to 12.7 percent. Approximately 119,000 members of the unions received ballots, of which 30 percent returned them – a number that is historically consistent with previous referenda on union contracts. The final vote was certified this evening by Integrity Voting Systems.
SAG President Melissa Gilbert said, "The negotiating committee of working members felt this was a good deal for actors, the joint national board agreed, and I'm pleased and gratified to see that so many members from each division across our Guild thought so too. Many dedicated people worked hard to achieve an outcome that serves working actors, and this contract does that."
AFTRA President John Connolly added, "This contract represents a victory for solidarity, strategy and good sense. The majority of the negotiating committee kept their eyes on the real prize, which was to keep actors working and keep cameras rolling. The members then concurred with their votes. Make no mistake, this is a victory for working performers who understand their industry and understand this contract."
SAG and AFTRA began talks with the studios and networks on December 6, 2004. A SAG/AFTRA negotiating committee of 26 individuals - all of whom are members of both unions - participated daily in the talks. Leading the negotiations for the unions were SAG President Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA President John P. Connolly, along with chief negotiators Bob Pisano, the national executive director/CEO of SAG, and Greg Hessinger, the national executive director of AFTRA.
For further information on the new contract, including a summary of the agreement and the entire presentation viewed by the joint national board, click here.
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 working actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at www.sag.org.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists -- affiliated with the AFL-CIO -- is a diverse national union representing nearly 80,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, industrial non-broadcast, interactive games and the Internet.