At last! After nearly a year of contentious wrangling between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, SAG members voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract, which immediately triggered activity on a backlog of stalled L.A.-generated movie and TV production.
According to SAG, 78% of those who voted supported the contract. About 35% of the union’s 110,000 members returned ballots.
Votes in favor of the contract exceeded 70% in all three of the union’s major divisions, including in Hollywood, where much of the most high-profile opposition was centered.
With the new, two-year contract, the union gets an immediate 3% wage increase and a 3.5% increase after one year. Also provided were benefits for actors working on content created for digital distribution, including residual payments for ad-supported internet streaming of feature films and television programs.
The Producers Alliance offered essentially the same terms to the Screen Actors Guild when its previous contract expired a year ago. During that period, the producers had reached accord with the DGA, WGA and AFTRA.
David White, interim national executive director, after the ouster, said the union will “organize new work opportunities, repair and reinvigorate our relationships with our sister unions and industry partners, and continue to improve the Guild’s operations.”
SAG president Alan Rosenberg, who opposed the current contract, said he continued to believe it to be “devastatingly unsatisfactory.” Nonetheless, he decided to support it now and seek concessions from producers in two years, when all major Hollywood union contracts will expire at around the same time.
Upon member approval of the new SAG contract, L.A. studios that had put productions on hold, are now moving ahead with their schedules. How that will affect Illinois remains to be seen. In the Midwest, Michigan and Iowa are reporting a flurry of studio activity, but nothing has yet concretely developed for Illinois.