SAG Members Approve Feature, Prime-Time Contract
Members of the Screen Actors Guild overwhelmingly approved a two-year contract covering feature and prime-time work after almost a year without a deal and a dramatic battle within the organization.
In an announcement Tuesday, SAG said 78 percent of voting members ratified the contract, which the guild's board approved in April.
"This decisive vote gets our members back to work with immediate pay raises and puts SAG in a strong position for the future," said David White, SAG's interim national executive director. "Preparation for the next round of negotiations begins now. Our members can expect more positive changes in the coming months as we organize new work opportunities, repair and reinvigorate our relationships with our sister unions and industry partners, and continue to improve the Guild's operations."
The new contract is similar to the one producers offered a year ago: It boosts actors' salaries by 3 percent in the first year, and provides a .5 percent gain in contributions to pension and health care plans. It also calls for a 3.5 percent increase in the second year, for an overall increase of $105 million.
In addition, the deal establishes a pay structure for shows and other media streamed on the Internet.
"The ratification vote by SAG members is good news for the entertainment industry," the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement. "This concludes a two-year negotiating process that has resulted in agreements with all major Hollywood Guilds and Unions. We look forward to working with SAG members — and with everyone else in our industry — to emerge from today's significant economic challenges with a strong and growing business."
SAG rejected producers' original deal last summer, leaving actors without a contract. Though national executive director Doug Allen tried to guide members to a strike vote, strike opponents ousted him in January and resumed talks with producers. Those talks led to the agreement.
What do you think of SAG members' vote? Should they have approved the contract?