SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate Matthew Modine is taking on what he calls the “repugnant” disparity in pensions between the union’s members and its staff. “I’ve been asked by hundreds of SAG-AFTRA members if I could explain the pension discrepancy that exists between our union members and the SAG-AFTRA staff that we employ,” he told Deadline on Thursday. “It’s quite complicated, so I had an animated video made to illustrate the absurdity and inequity.”
“Did you know that SAG-AFTRA staff can retire at 55 years of age with full benefits?” he asks in the video, titled Who’s Running This Union?
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“But that’s not the case for SAG-AFTRA members. For example, let’s say SAG-AFTRA staff wants to retire at 55 years of age with a pension of $50,000. If a SAG-AFTRA member wanted to retire with a pension of $50,000, they’d need to retire a full 10 years later, at 65. And even though SAG and AFTRA have merged into one union, did you know their pensions have not?
“For example, if a member of our union wanted to retire at 55 years old along with their SAG-AFTRA staff friend, members with the SAG pension would take a 30% cut, and members of the AFTRA pension would take a whopping 60% cut. Not only that, but the pension cap for staff is over double the SAG-AFTRA members’. So if they each hit their cap and wanted to retire at 55, the member with the SAG pension would make a third of the staffer member ($67,000), and the AFTRA pension less than one-quarter of the staff member ($43,000). Enough is enough.”
“SAG-AFTRA is a member-run union,” Modine told Deadline. “When leadership advantages any faction, group, individual or staff member, it is the responsibility of the members to take actions to remove and replace those responsible for disadvantaging others. My opponents, Unite for Strength and Gabriel Carteris, supported this pension discrepancy. Membership First and I do not support it. It is repugnant to allow certain, chosen people in our same pension plan to receive greater benefits than others. It’s antithetical to what UNION represents and why they’re vital symbols of fairness and equality.”
Here’s the video: