Dear Screen Actors Guild Member,
On Tuesday, April 15 we begin negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (“AMPTP”) for our Television and Theatrical contracts. These agreements represent over 1 billion dollars in annual earnings and cover all SAG television and theatrical motion pictures.
We conducted Wages & Working conditions meetings throughout the country during January and February to define our priorities and develop proposals. The National W&W Committee met for two days in late March and endorsed the final proposal package, which was subsequently approved by our National Board of Directors on March 29.
As you no doubt know, we developed proposals jointly with AFTRA under our Phase One joint bargaining agreement until AFTRA voted to break off from our joint efforts at the end of March.
We are facing the demise of middle class actors. We now have to work more just to make what we earned a few years ago. Favored nations salaries for guest stars and featured actors are now the norm and most actors can’t get the quotes (individual salary) that they could a year ago. It’s a “take it or leave it” world and many will have to leave the business for other work if the downward trends continue.
We have to negotiate fair payments for all new media formats to help us expand opportunities for middle class actors to get more work, just as the employers are expanding their opportunities to earn even more revenue. We simply can’t wait until this boat has sailed. We need to be on the boat—and it’s leaving now.
The future of professional acting depends on it.
Screen Actors Guild is fully prepared for bargaining. In fact, we have been conducting extensive research and reaching out to members for the last two years in anticipation of these important talks. As members of this union, we want you to know about the critical issues we plan to address in the coming weeks.
• We will make a comprehensive proposal on compensation, working conditions and residuals our members should receive when they work on programs made for new media. Our proposal also recognizes the economics of producing for various new media formats and enables our employers to compete in this new space.
• Our proposals contain an equitable and simple answer to the question of how producers should pay residuals when television programs and theatrical motion pictures are exhibited on new media formats
MINIMUMS & RESIDUALS
• We will propose increases in all minimums.
• We will propose a long overdue increase to the DVD/Home Video formula.
MAJOR ROLE ACTORS
• A number of our proposals are for improvements designed to benefit Major Role actors (featured, guest stars, weekly players, etc.), whose ability to make a living has been increasingly diminished by cost-cutting industry practices.
• We will also make proposals designed to rectify the historic inequities faced by background actors, whose contributions continue to be inadequately recognized in our contract.
PENSION & HEALTH
• We will propose increased employer contributions to provide funding for improved benefits.
• We will address the alarming trend of “forced endorsement” which has taken product placement to the next level by requiring members to do uncompensated commercials embedded in scripted content.
STANDARDS & PROTECTIONS
• We have addressed in our proposals the need to monitor and enforce any deal we make and ensure that performers are being paid based on the fair market value of the programs they help bring to life. We are seeking improvements and protections for young performers, stunt performers, performers with disabilities, dancers and others.