Los Angeles (October 22, 2006) --- The national board of Screen Actors Guild voted by a 98-percent margin today to seek member approval of a dues increase that would strengthen the union’s overall fiscal health, enhance member services like residuals check processing, bolster such initiatives as organizing and a new tech department, and finance research and contract campaigns heading into the critical TV/Theatrical and Commercials Contract negotiations of 2008.
If accepted, base dues for SAG membership would increase from $100 to $116 per year, while the Guild’s initiation fee would rise from $1,474 to $2,211. A dues increase would represent the first hike since 1999—and only the second increase in 19 years.
SAG President Alan Rosenberg and Secretary-Treasurer Connie Stevens said in a joint statement: “Our biggest responsibility as caretakers of this great union is making sure it remains healthy and strong. This increase will put us in the best possible position heading into the TV/Theatrical and Commercials Contract negotiations of 2008 by financing research and building up reserves, thrusting the Guild into a prosperous new era. Added resources will also enable us to increase organizing efforts across the country, enhance member services, and build a new tech department that will let us thrive in this rapidly changing world."
Actors earning less than $200,000 would still pay 1.85% of earnings, and members who make between $200,001-$500,000 would still pay .5% of earnings more than $200,000. The Guild would raise its earnings cap—income subject to dues—from $500,000 to $1 million. Actors earning between $500,001 to $1 million would now pay .25% of those earnings.
If approved by members, the increase would also enable the Guild to hire more staff, enhance its internal computer systems and Web site capabilities, and build reserves heading into 2008.
Ballots will go out to members on January 16, 2007, with a due date 30 days later. The new dues structure would go into effect starting with the May 2007 dues period, while initiation fees would increase upon ratification.
“This crucial dues increase would provide Screen Actors Guild the necessary resources to carry out important work on behalf of its members,” said interim National Executive Director Peter Frank. “This includes hiring needed staff to work in the growing areas of contracts, organizing and a new tech department, while streamlining member services like residuals processing. Beyond giving us overall fiscal health, these funds would allow us to properly prepare for the upcoming 2008 negotiations.”