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SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal With Recording Industry!

August 27, 2015 (21:27) | 2015 | By: Arlin Miller

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August 27, 2015 | 05:56PM PT

SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative three-year successor deal with the recording industry, covering session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists.

The deal covers work by performers for Sony Music Entertainment, affiliates of Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Capitol Records LLC and Hollywood Records for recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, along with audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums.

The deal now goes to SAG-AFTRA members for ratification.

The new deal includes a payment formula for online streaming and non-permanent digital downloads for revenues generated outside the United States through platforms such as Spotify, Tidal and Rdio. It’s the first time that the labels have included revenue generated outside the U.S. in any payment streams under the union’s contract.

The current contract includes such provisions for revenues generated in the U.S.

The agreement is the first new contract covering sound recordings since the 2012 merger of SAG and AFTRA and will be known as the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings. The previous agreement expired Dec. 31 and the new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017.

“SAG-AFTRA and the labels came to the table with ambitious, visionary goals. The changes reflected in this agreement set the stage for a significant expansion of participation for our members in the global market,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief operating officer and general counsel, who served as co-lead negotiator.

Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the recording industry’s bargaining group commenced last fall with sessions taking place over several months in New York and Los Angeles.

“The music industry continues to face existential challenges, which make the importance and value of our partnership with creative talent a top priority,” said Bernard Plum, lead negotiator for the labels.

“We are proud to have worked with the SAG-AFTRA leadership who were willing to show the flexibility needed at this critical juncture. With both sides recognizing the need to make crucial changes, we are able to move forward in a new and progressive agreement that also expands the pool of revenue in which the performers will share.”

The deal includes payment of AFTRA Health and Retirement contributions on a portion of domestic and foreign streaming payments; “substantial” restructuring of the compensation system for licensing of sound recordings; an annual 2% increase to minimums; a 0.25% increase in the health and retirement contribution rate effective 2017; a 12.5% increase in the cap on health and retirement contributions for groups of three or more performers; and a “substantial” increase in cap on label payment for roster artist health insurance eligibility.

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Okay, okay.  No spin added to this one.

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Photo selected by Watchdog


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Animation Guild Ratifies New 3-Year Contract!

August 27, 2015 (15:51) | 2015 | By: Arlin Miller

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The 3% Solution

August 27, 2015 3:13pm

Members of the Animation Guild have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract with management. The new deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers includes 3% annual increases in contract minimums, no rollbacks and a 10% pension increase for those retiring after August 1, 20

The contract covers some 3,100 members of IATSE Local 839 working in various aspects of the animation industry, including writers and directors, storyboard artists, background designers, CGI animators and layout artists. All the major animation companies are signatory to the contract, including Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Fox Animation, Marvel, Universal, Cartoon Network and ABC Studios.

The Animation Guild is part of IATSE but bargains separately. Its new contract follows the contours of the deal the IATSE reached in April, and its New Media provisions are similar to those negotiated recently by the DGA and all the other major guilds and unions.

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An idea for you writers out there.  How about a script about Sherlock Holmes  and a case that takes place in the Hollywood unions.  Oh, and you call it the “The Three-Per-cent Solution!”

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

* Photo selected by Watchdog

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Acting Coach Cameron Thor Found Guilty Of Lewd Conduct With Child Actor!

August 26, 2015 (16:27) | 2015 | By: Arlin Miller

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Cameron Thor

August 26, 2015 3:34pm

UPDATE with quotes: A Los Angeles Superior Court jury has found actor and former acting coach Cameron Thor guilty of having engaged in lewd conduct with a child under the age of 14. The verdict came after just more than a full day of deliberations following the end of the trial, which began August 17.

Thor left the Van Nuys, CA courtroom in handcuffs after the verdict was read. He was visibly upset, and both families wept quietly on opposite sides of the courtroom as the decision came down. As he was taken away, he mouthed to his family, “I love you.”

His sentencing is set for October 9. He faces up to 13 years in state prison.

“Obviously I’m disappointed and surprised by the verdict, but I respect the decision of the jury and the hard work they put into this case,” Thor’s attorney James Blatt said today. “There will be an appeal.”

Thor did not testify in his behalf during the trial. “That was a technical decision by the defense,” Blatt said. “I don’t believe it would have been in his best interest. But hindsight is 20-20. That’s in the past. Now we’re focusing on the sentencing and the appeal.”

Thor originally faced 13 counts, including kidnapping and aggravated assault, on one of his students, Jordyn Ladell, in 2009 when she was a 13-year-old eighth grader. She claimed he sexually assaulted her in his car during a drive in the Santa Monica Mountains. All but one of the charges had been dropped by the District Attorney.

The jury as well as Ladell and her family left the courtroom by a side door after the verdict.

Thor is also an actor who appeared in Windtalkers, Jurassic Park, A Few Good Men and Hook and on TV in The Net and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He had taught acting to teens and others in Studio City, CA via the Carter Thor Studio. The case came to the D.A.’s office by way of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau.

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Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Photo selected by Watchdog

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IATSE Hollywood Members Ratify New Film & TV Pact

August 25, 2015 (23:34) | 2015 | By: Arlin Miller

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SAG-AFTRA election: Why the Ken Howard-Patricia Richardson contest was so close!

August 22, 2015 (12:25) | 2015 | By: Arlin Miller

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Ken Howard, the veteran actor who starred in the 1970s TV series “The White Shadow,” defeated “Home Improvement” actress Patricia Richardson to remain president of Hollywood’s largest entertainment union.

But the race was closer than expected and Richardson’s camp won a surprise victory when her running mate Jane Austin was elected secretary treasurer of SAG-AFTRA and president of the Los Angeles local.

Why did the longtime union president come within 2,257 votes of losing his position?

Richardson tapped into growing anxieties among actors over their shrinking incomes during a period of rapid change in the media landscape. While streaming services such as Netflix have created new opportunities for actors, the shift toward lower-cost online production has dramatically changed how actors are compensated, especially when it comes to residuals, the fees they receive when shows are rerun.

Guild members also were frustrated at the slow pace of merging the union’s health and pension plans, which had been one of the chief goals of combining the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in 2012.

Additionally, Richardson drew heavy support among stunt performers and background actors who’ve long felt marginalized by Hollywood. Austin is a stuntwoman and narrowly defeated Howard’s running mate, actress Jenny O’Hara. She also was elected president of the Los Angeles Local, giving her an important say in committee appointments.

Howard was reelected by a 54% to 46% vote, but even he concedes that the close race was partly a reflection of discontent in the rank and file during a period of digital disruption.

He also said low voter turnout was a factor, saying such elections tend to draw more disaffected members. Only 30,263 of nearly 140,000 members cast ballots in the national election, according to the union.

“I’m relieved that I can continue doing what I can do,” Howard said in an interview Friday morning.

Howard added that he welcomed working with Austin and others who opposed his leadership.

“That’s part of the job – to be inclusive,” he said. “I’ll be able to work with her or anybody else. The reason I got into this union was to bring people together. In terms of embracing new ideas and calls for change – I’ll embrace that the best I can.”

Richardson saw a silver lining her loss.

“What it means is Ken has no mandate of any kind, ” she said in an interview. “He didn’t have his running mate [O’Hara] elected, and he lost a good deal of his support on the local board. Will they [Howard’s supporters] change their ways given that this election was so close and people are obviously not happy? Maybe. I don’t know.”

The election gives Howard, who was first elected in 2009, another two-year term as president of a union with a budget of about $100 million that represents 160,000 actors, singers, dancers, broadcasters and other performers.

Howard leads a faction of moderates that successfully pushed for the merger and still dominate the majority of seats on the 70-member national board. Supporters, who included Tom Hanks and George Clooney, credited him with bringing stability and unity to a once deeply divided union.

But he faced an surprisingly robust challenge from Richardson, who was backed by a more strident group called Membership First, which opposed the merger and had accused Howard’s slate of being too soft on management. Her A-list backers included Ed Harris and Martin Sheen.

The last time Membership First dominated the union was with the 2005 election of Alan Rosenberg, whose tenure was marked by clashes with board dissidents, AFTRA and the major studios.

Richardson took a more conciliatory approach. She refused to directly criticize Howard and stressed common ground with former opponents and members who aren’t actors, including broadcasters who had once been disparaged by her supporters.

“I was always saying no matter what we do, if we can move the party [Membership First] away from the reputation we seem to have built unfairly, to where we’re in a better position the next time, we’ll have gained something,” she said. “I felt we really made headway in getting back in this game.”

Indeed, Richardson’s strong showing in the election is expected to elevate her gadfly status on the board, where she was elected to another four-year term. It will also make it easier for her to challenge Howard in the next election and exert some influence in contract negotiations with the major studios.

Richardson and her supporters criticized Howard’s handling of past negotiations. The previous three-year film and TV contract, which was overwhelmingly approved by the union’s members last summer, provided modest wage hikes, a uniform set of terms for basic cable television, and TV pay rates for high-budget Internet shows like Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

But Richardson said negotiators could have done better by, for example, securing higher residuals for basic cable TV shows and residuals for lower-budget new media shows.

Her supporters have highlighted an email — among the trove of hacked communications posted online — that quoted a Sony executive as saying the SAG-AFTRA negotiations “were successful for the studios” and represented a “big win for us.”

Howard argued that the Sony email was taken out of context and strenuously defended his record, citing such gains as bringing disparate TV contracts under a single agreement and extending union contracts to new groups of workers at radio and broadcasting stations. He also went on the offensive. In a recent email to members, he accused his opponents of making “empty promises” and taking divisive positions that would weaken the union.

The election also highlighted questions surrounding the guild’s spending and transparency in its dealings with members.

Richardson had faulted the guild’s handling of a change in its method for calculating dues of highly paid actors in 2011. In a Times story this week, Richardson said the guild did not properly communicate the change to members.

Howard disagreed and said the new methodology was initiated by some of the guild’s highest-profile members who wanted to pay their share of dues.

Twitter: @rverrier

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Poor Ken he accuses others of making “empty promises” while assuring actors of “empty pockets!”

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Photo selected by Watchdog.

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