SAG members approve contract with studios


Despite heavy lobbying for “no” votes by Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg and other hardliners, the tally was lopsided when the votes were counted. SAG members voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with the Hollywood studios for television and movie production.

According to the tally released by the union late Tuesday, 78% of the members voting approved the new pact, with only 22% against. Only 35.26% of some 110,000 SAG members actually voted, but the union said that was an above average turnout for SAG voting. Many people who carry SAG cards do only occasional acting in TV or movie productions.

Rosenberg, who had been effectively muzzled from communicating via the SAG website after his opponents gained control of the national board, was quoted in the union’s announcement for the contract ratification vote.

“The membership has spoken and has decided to work under the terms of this contract that many of us, who have been involved in these negotiations from the beginning, believe to be devastatingly unsatisfactory. Tomorrow morning I will be contacting the elected leadership of the other talent unions with the hope of beginning a series of pre-negotiation summit meetings in preparation for 2011. I call upon all SAG members to begin to ready themselves for the battle ahead,” Rosenberg said.

The contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) took effect at a minute after midnight this morning and expires June 30, 2011. That keeps SAG in sync with the contract expirations of other major Hollywood unions. The previous contract had expired last year and talks had been deadlocked until the new majority took control of the SAG board.

“This decisive vote gets our members back to work with immediate pay raises and puts SAG in a strong position for the future. Preparation for the next round of negotiations begins now. Our members can expect more positive changes in the coming months as we organize new work opportunities, repair and reinvigorate our relationships with our sister unions and industry partners, and continue to improve the Guild’s operations,” said SAG Interim National Executive Director David White.

The union provided details of the contract vote, with approval in all regions of the country. The vote count in the Hollywood Division was 70.70% to 29.30% in favor. In the New York Division, the vote count was 85.74% to 14.26% in favor. And in the Regional Branch Division, the vote count was 89.06% to 10.94% in favor.