After more than a year in limbo, the Screen Actors Guild has announced that its members voted to approve new TV and theatrical contracts by a vote of 78 to 22 percent.
According to SAG, the two-year agreement covers film and digital TV programs, motion pictures and new media productions. The contracts provide more than $105 million in wages, increased pension contributions and other gains and establishes a template for SAG coverage of new media formats. The pact became effective June 10 and expires June 30, 2011. About 35 percent of the union’s 110,000 members returned ballots. Votes in favor of the contract exceeded 70 percent in the union’s three major divisions, including in Hollywood.
“We are all thankful that the long stalemate of the SAG agreement has finally been decided,” said Sue Cabral-Ebert, president of IATSE Local 706, the West Coast union of make-up artists and hairstylists. “It’s now time to congratulate them and get back to work, just like we always do. There has been damage to our entire community, financial losses and jobs lost which created extreme hardship for so many people.
“Hopefully the producers who have projects that are green-lighted will get going. We in California know the new tax incentive program won’t go into effect until July. Let this be a cautionary tale for everyone. Be aware that the SAG contract is only a two-year agreement that will coincide with several other contracts in our industry. They will all end within a few months of each other.” She urged 706 members to save money and spend cautiously until then: “A few years down the line we could have a really rough go of it,” she said.
Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg also sounded a cautionary note in a statement: “The membership has spoken and has decided to work under the terms of this contract that many of us, who have been involved in these negotiations from the beginning, believe to be devastatingly unsatisfactory,” he said. “I call upon all SAG members to begin to ready themselves for the battle ahead.”