Los Angeles (March 28, 2006) – In a major victory for actors performing in animated programs made for basic cable, Screen Actors Guild negotiators have secured a 20 percent increase in residuals as part of a tentative agreement reached between the Guild and the major producers of animated basic cable programming (including Walt Disney Pictures & Television, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios). The 20 percent increase reflects the typical run pattern for animated basic cable episodes produced by these companies – the initial run of an episode followed by an average of 25 repeats – and marks the first improvements to the residuals formula in this contract in 16 years.
If approved by the Guild’s national board, the new contract will be retroactive to January 1, 2006 and will run through June 30, 2008, which gives the Guild an opportunity to go back to the bargaining table in just over two years and potentially secure additional gains. The tentative deal, which covers animated shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and The Boondocks, also has the potential to generate more covered work for Guild members through a new understanding that all animated production for basic cable done by Guild signatories will now be covered by this contract, as opposed to the previous industry practice of relying on single-production contracts.
“The performers who work under this contract have waited a long time for these well-deserved gains, particularly in the area of residuals,” said Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg. “Thanks to the hard work of the negotiating committee and staff, and with the support of our membership, we were able to improve this contract, which affects mainly working day performers, for the first time in almost two decades. The Guild achieved this important victory by standing together as a united group of actors.”
The Guild will hold a caucus on April 10 in Hollywood for members to review the tentative agreement before it is considered for ratification by the national board at its April 21-22 meeting. Under the terms of the agreement, ratification by the Guild must take place by April 30, 2006.
The Guild and its member-led negotiating committee, chaired by Loren Lester, began bargaining with producers in January 2006. “This is a significant win for actors doing animation work,” said Lester. “It’s truly historic when you consider the Guild hasn’t achieved any negotiated gains on this contract during the past 16 years. We were successful because we possessed a strong negotiating team, comprised of an activist committee of working performers, a supportive elected Guild leadership, and an expert professional staff, especially our chief negotiator Sallie Weaver.”
If approved, the residuals formula for the first rerun of animated programs made directly for basic cable would increase from 12 to 17 percent of the voice performer’s minimum (currently $716 for a four-hour session), going down to 1.5 percent of the minimum for the 13th showing and each subsequent run. Since it is not uncommon for episodes of the most successful animated basic cable series to run 100 times or more in a year, an increase to 1.5 percent of the minimum for the 13th run, and each subsequent run, represents a substantial increase in potential income for Guild members.
“We achieved important gains that will truly benefit the many actors who do voice-over work to make a living,” said chief negotiator Sallie Weaver, who serves as the Guild’s deputy national executive director for contracts. “Basic Cable Animation is a burgeoning industry, and this deal comes at a critical time. I’m very proud of how the dedicated members of the negotiating committee worked with our incredible staff and achieve real, tangible gains for working actors.”