Message from David White, Interim National Executive Director, May 19, 2009

Message from David White, Interim National Executive Director, May 19, 2009

Dear SAG Member:

Today ballots for the tentative  agreement reached for television, motion pictures and new media will be mailed to all eligible members around the country. As you know, our National Board of Directors has voted to recommend this contract for your approval. For a number of important reasons, I believe they were right to recommend this deal to you.

As you will hear over the coming weeks, the two-year successor agreement contain real financial gains for you and your families, including:

  • An increase of 6.5 percent in your earnings and residuals, including a 3 percent raise (effective immediately upon ratification), plus another 3.5 percent increase in the second year of the contract.
  • A  5 percent increase in network primetime rerun ceilings over the life of the two-year deal, threshold increases in schedule breaks and money breaks, and a 33 percent increase in the “top of show” premium (which means more money for “guest star” work).
  • A .5 percent increase in pension contributions, which raises the pension and health contribution rate to 15 percent.

The agreement also contains specific increases for background actors across the Western Zones, including five additional background positions in movies, and an additional background position in television, plus an expanded background zone around Las Vegas, NV.  Stunt coordinators will now (finally) be included in the pool of residuals, and there is additional pay for dancers who perform under hazardous conditions. 

These gains are matched by the important foundation established in new media, which includes the industry’s acknowledgement of our jurisdiction and the first ever recognized structure for residuals payments. The industry will open its financial books for new media production for our inspection, to help ensure our increased understanding of the developing cost and production models being used by producers.

This is a solid deal with real gains at a time when we need them. For these reasons, I include my voice with those of the National Board of Directors and members across the union, by urging you to VOTE YES on this contract. We have posted the referendum packet online. Please review the materials there and watch member videos on SAG TV to see how actors who have learned the facts feel about this agreement.

In unity and looking forward,

David White
Interim National Executive Director

P.S. Be sure to attend a member informational meeting in your area. Click here for a complete listing. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at contract2009@sag.org.