news 6 months ago

SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles Board Opposes Ratification of Film-TV Deal

Variety — Dave McNary

SAG-AFTRA’s Los Angeles board has voted to oppose ratification of a successor deal on its master contract for feature films and primetime television work.

The move came Tuesday, two weeks after the national board of the performers union had approved sending out the contract for ratification by a vote of 67.6% to 32.4%. Ballots are due back by July 22.

Backers of ratification, led by president Gabrielle Carteris, have touted increases of $318 million over the three-year term of the contract, a 26% increase in fixed streaming residuals, gains in pension and held benefits and improvements in provisions for performers in nude and simulated sex scenes.

Opponents have said the new contract will “destroy” syndication the decades-old fixed residual formula with a three-year loss of $70 million and an eight-year loss of $170 million. They have also asserted that 1.5% of the proposed 2% pension and health increase will be deducted from the wage increase and that there’s no protection for background actors from the use of digital doubles.

The opponents are part of the Membership First faction, which has pushed for a more assertive stance at the bargaining table. Carteris is head of the ruling Unite for Strength faction, which pushes for pragmatism.

Those urging a “No” vote include national board members Ed Asner, Jennifer Beals, Neve Campbell, Diane Ladd, Matthew Modine, Esai Morales, Patricia Richardson, Rob Schneider and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Richardson, who serves as president of the Los Angeles board, announced the action in a Tweet.

Three years ago, SAG-AFTRA members ratified the current deal as the pact generated opposition from about one in every four members who voted. About 76% of members approved the deal with about 15% of the 144,000 eligible members voting — or about 22,000 in all.

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.