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Monday, June 30, 2008

Waiters, er, Actors Strike Probable

Two unions represent actors, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). There are 70,000 members in AFTRA. There are 120,000 members in SAG. There are 44,000 people who belong to both unions. The vast majority of SAG members do not make their living on-screen. Many are waiters and waitresses. Two-thirds of them earn less than $1,000 a year. Fewer than 20 percent earn more than $7,500 a year. A very small percentage at the top earn most of the money.

The two unions have traditionally negotiated their deals side by side with the studios, but this year there was a disagreement between them. AFTRA reached a tentative agreement with the studios earlier this year. SAG is now asking its "dual-card" members who belong to AFTRA to reject that contract, saying it weakens their position at the bargaining table and calling the deal "not good enough."

SAG wants:

1) "Significant increases" in the minimum rates paid to actors in minor and major roles, including those performing stunts and serving as "background" (commonly called the extras).
2) The studios to contribute more to their health insurance and pensions,
3) The studios to give them a sweeter cut on DVD sales,
4) An increase in their reimbursements for mileage and
5) Pay for residuals for all new media

(The Washington Post)
Link to this article