Saturday’s SAG-AFTRA board meeting was memorialized by only a summary press release, but The Hollywood Reporter has learned some details about a key subject at the meeting: the bargaining package that the union will present at upcoming negotiations with the advertising industry.
That package will include proposals for:
* annual wage increases, rather than the triennial schedule that has been the norm;
* a significant increase in pension and health contributions, which are currently at a percentage rate that’s lower than what motion picture and television producers and studios pay; and
* changes related to Internet commercials.
The package was approved virtually unanimously Saturday, with only about two "no" votes.
Negotiations begin Feb. 14, with SAG-AFTRA co-president Roberta Reardon serving as chair of the negotiating committee. National executive director David White is chief negotiator, while assistant national executive director for contracts Ray Rodriguez and associate national executive director Mathis Dunn are co-lead negotiators.
According to a source, the negotiations also will focus on moving all television commercial work to the SAG commercial agreement, which is largely the case already. The AFTRA document is virtually identical, but the choice of contracts determines whether pension and health contributions go to the SAG P&H plan or the AFTRA Health & Retirement fund.
Although the unions merged more than 10 months ago, they have not announced any concrete progress toward unifying their respective P&H/H&R plans. Members continue to fail to qualify for health coverage or pension credits, sometimes falling short of necessary thresholds by just a few hundred dollars.
According to a statement released by the union, “The trustees of [the two plans] ... continue formal communications regarding the issue of reciprocity and, ultimately, merger between the plans, and discussions are progressing between the two organizations.”
In other business Saturday, the union established but did not announce an election schedule for national and local elections leading up to the first SAG-AFTRA convention in September.
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