My Fellow SAG-AFTRA Houston-Austin Local Members,
I hope this letter finds you and your family at peace and enjoying summer social-distancing style.
By now, you’ve probably read the news that SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on June 11 and that the SAG-AFTRA National Board approved the tentative agreement by a super majority of 67.61% to 32.39%. It is now up to the membership to ratify these three-year contracts.
As your Houston-Austin Local president, I want you to know that I will be voting YES on this deal — and here’s why I urge you to vote YES as well.
These contracts are VERY IMPORTANT TO MEMBERS AND IMPORTANT TO OUR UNION AS A WHOLE. It supports the future of where our industry is heading, primarily streaming platforms. Considering the current economic landscape of our industry, it’s truly remarkable that we were able to achieve these gains and get a new contract that paves the way for our membership to get back to work as soon as possible. Overall, it is a good contract and here is why…
First, the obvious: The $318 million value of this package is MORE than we have EVER achieved. We were able to secure huge gains that will be meaningful in areas like wages and benefits for all members. We’re talking about REAL DOLLARS!
Our negotiating team stayed focused on the FUTURE with a 26% increase in fixed streaming residuals. Make no mistake about it, this is HUGE. It’s no secret the bulk of our work is now either originally produced for streaming platforms or moving there after its initial broadcast run. We continue to position ourselves to maximize our earnings in digital, as traditional broadcast and syndication models fade. The additional impact on foreign residuals (which are based on a percentage of domestic totals) as well as new budget thresholds will translate to even more money in members’ pockets.
Considering that this record-breaking deal was accomplished in the middle of a global pandemic, at a time of economic upheaval and dramatic declines in industry revenue, you’ll be glad to know a key priority of our negotiation was to make sure our pension and health plans stay strong.
The projected funding increase of $97 million to the benefit plans for the next three years, including a $54 million increase for the health plan, could not come at a more important time. Should we need it, the deal provides for options to shore up the plans even further in the second and third years.
I invite you to check out other important highlights in the 2020 TV/Theatrical Referendum by going to sagaftra.org/contracts2020. I also encourage you to attend the online informational meeting this Tuesday, July 14, at 4 p.m. Click here for details and to RSVP.
All eligible members were mailed a postcard on July 1 with a PIN number and instructions on how to vote online or how to request a paper ballot. If you don’t have your PIN, you may retrieve it at the voting website. Whether submitted online or by mail, ballots must be received by 5 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
I hope you will join me in voting YES on this historic contract — our FUTURE depends on it!
President, SAG-AFTRA Houston-Austin Local