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SAG members, finally, approve contract

Hollywood's largest actors union strongly endorsed a new film and TV contract, closing the chapter on a year-long dispute with the major studios.

The vote, which was expected to be close, drew a stronger show of support from the membership of the Screen Actors Guild, with 78% supporting the deal, and 22% opposing it.

The approval comes nearly a year after the guild's current contract expired and is largely similar to a deal the studios offered the union last fall. SAG's bargaining clout was hurt by the weak economy and a series of strategic missteps by the union's former chief negotiator, who was ousted in a boardroom revolt in January.

Although the contract was expected to be ratified, the vote puts to rest lingering fears in Hollywood that the entertainment industry would face another strike following last year's walkout by writers.

It could also help spur at least some independent film production that has been held up because of the dispute. The uncertainty had caused some insurance companies to stop issuing completion bonds -- ensuring that a film will be done on time and within budget -- that independent filmmakers depend on.

The contract was patterned after similar agreements negotiated last year by three other talent unions. It includes an immediate pay increase of 3% and for the first time gives actors residual pay for shows that streamed for free on websites like Hulu.

But SAG's members were sharply at odds over the terms. Stars lined up on either side of dueling campaigns. A group of A-list actors led by Tom Hanks and George Clooney backed the contract as the best that could be had in a difficult economic climate.

Another group that included former SAG President Ed Asner, Ed Harris and Martin Sheen blasted the agreement, saying it shortchanges actors for work that is distributed on the Internet.

Underscoring the divisions, the contract was supported by a majority of the board and the union's executive director, but opposed by the union's president, Alan Rosenberg, who vigorously campaigned against the contract.

Rosenberg was an ardent backer of former SAG executive director Doug Allen, who was ousted after a group of dissident actors won control of the board in elections last fall. They replaced him with veteran negotiator John McGuire and David White, the union's former general counsel.

--Richard Verrier

Comments () | Archives (6)

This is going to end SAG as we know it.

Huzzah! Finally, some uplifting news in these dark times.

Thinking of someone other than themselves for once? How very not Hollywood yet looking out for Hollywood's future existence in the next decade. Hollywood is on the verge of implosion because of its greed and arrogance, and they know it.

Speaking entirely without authorization of any sort on behalf of the independent crew folks and others in the industry, I'd like to thank SAG for nearly a years vacation.

Perhaps next time, you could work it out so it's a paid vacation for those of us who do not receive residuals at all. You know, the folks who get a job and work that show one time, and then are paid once for that one time, and that's it.

Those of us who continue to work in this manner have found a way to exist, and those who can't make a living simply have to find another occupation. Perhaps that's something to think about for the 95% or so of your members who only work a day or two a year in their craft, and yet still put "actor" as their profession on their tax return.

I'm just saying......


Are you kidding me? The upper echelon of society needs 3% more money than they had? How is that a good thing? States are going broke, unemployment rates are out of control, and the lower classes are losing their homes. These are the people who need more money if they are expected to enjoy the entertainment industry. No job = no trips to the movies. No job = no cable to watch these entertainers. No money = no internet to watch SAG members on websites like HULU, and ultimately, No home = a complete separation from the entertainment industry completely. Take that 3% and apply it to health insurance benefits, food stamps, aid with insurances, food. So again I ask, how is this a good thing?

You're just saying?

If you have issue with residuals should look to the producers who designed a business model in order to cut the actors pay down 25% with promises they would be paid more if the product their product was successful (ie ran multiple times)

Nearly every single business out here uses a bonus model for successful products and very few industries pull anywhere near what Hollywood does. A show/movie does well, the producers get a bonus. But the actors shouldn't?

And while thanking the actors for you unemployment, you should actually read up on how every studio cut costs of 10-24% BASED ON THE ECONOMY while having a record breaking year (up 15%).

If you don't like your vacation time go work in another industry and then cry because the faces behind the company get bonuses and you dont.


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