Hello Fellow SAG-AFTRA New England Member,
These continue to be challenging times, coping with the international pandemic. Fortunately, our union has been hard at work to secure a new TV/Theatrical tentative agreement for when we return to work.
I’m writing today to tell you I’m voting YES on our new contract. The future of our New England Local will be enhanced by the terms of this agreement.
I’d like to call your attention to a few highlights that I thought were especially relevant:
- There was a 4% increase overall vs. a 3.6% average over the last couple of contract negotiations. The $318 million is in meaningful areas like wages and benefits for all members. That’s real dollars in members' pockets. This increase translates to millions in wage increases for background performers.
- I’m glad the new contract focused on the future. Our local has been benefiting from increased opportunities for SVOD (streaming video on demand). Our members have been cast in movies, videos and TV shows with principal, stand-in and background work in projects for Hulu, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more. Getting a 26% increase in fixed steaming residuals over the first three years is terrific, a real gain for our members. New streaming budget provisions mean more money for more actors.
- Sometimes actors worry about safety and protection from any type of sexual harassment or from unexpected nude scenes or simulated sex scenes. I know there seem to be more of these scenes for both principal and background actors in New England. These revisions are a huge get and are extremely important to address unsafe auditions and sets, and sexual harassment. This proposed agreement establishes concrete rules to prevent abuse from happening in the first place. It also updates Section 43 by addressing remote viewing auditions, the secure storage of nude photographs and digital human technologies. No more on-set “gotchas,” where they try to coerce you into a nude scene you hadn’t already committed to.
- I’m pleased that they have included this for background performers: The rule that you receive a full day’s wages if you are not provided advance notice of a nude performance and refuse to perform is now extended to non-nude simulated sex acts. AMPTP shall issue a safety bulletin to casting agencies directing them to request a producer alert them if a role will require any simulated sex acts or nude scenes so that background performers are notified prior to booking.
Your vote is important. I hope these highlighted points from the contract will assist you in your decision process and you join me in voting YES.
All eligible members were mailed a postcard on July 1 with instructions and a PIN number 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.
The union has provided several resources for learning the details, and I encourage you to take advantage of them. There will be an informational meeting on the TV/Theatrical tentative agreement July 14 at 5 p.m. ET. RSVP here for the meeting.
Please visit sagaftra.org/contracts2020 for more details.
President, SAG-AFTRA New England Local