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Studios, Teamsters to talk

April 19, 2007 (19:04) | 2007 | By: Arlin Miller

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Meetings will include four other Crafts unions

By DAVE MCNARY

Studios and networks will launch contract talks today with the Teamster drivers and four Basic Crafts unions in what may prove a portent for bargaining with the Writers Guild of America this summer.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, which serves as the negotiating arm for the companies, will be meeting with reps of Teamsters Local 399 and the four other Basic Crafts unions — Local 40 of the Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Local 724 of the Studio Utility Employees; Local 755 of Plasterers and Cement Masons; and Local 78 of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry. The current Basic Crafts three-year deal expires July 31.

Teamster drivers are the largest component of the locals repped at the negotiations, with about 4,000 members, while the Studio Utility Employees number more than 1,000. Reps for both sides have allocated the entire week for talks, and both sides have indicated they’ll observe a news blackout.

The talks will be closely tracked by Hollywood’s labor sector. Should negotiations take a contentious turn, it could indicate a rough road for the AMPTP and the WGA when their negotiations begin in mid-summer.

The Basic Crafts negotiations are likely to follow along the lines of the current West Coast IATSE agreement, which went into effect last August and featured minimum wage hikes of 75 per hour in the first year and 3% in the second and third years along with hikes of 0.5% in the second year and 0.5% in the third year in the Individual Account Plan and a 25-per-hour increase in contributions to the pension plan.

The current Basic Crafts deal included a 7% hike in telepic rates and an agreement to keep all episodic TV rates at the same level for the first two years. It also contained a 75-per-hour increase in the first year, followed by a 2.5% rise in the second and 3% in the third; and pension plan hikes of 25 per hour in the first year, 15 in the second and 10 in the third.

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SAG’s New Public Voice. Everything, you wanted to know about Pamela Greenwalt but was afraid to ask! Watchdog Bio Feedback!

April 19, 2007 (19:04) | 2007 | By: Arlin Miller

SAG taps Greenwalt

Exec fills Guild PR post

By DAVE MCNARY
The Screen Actors Guild has tapped PR marketing vet Pamela Greenwalt as its communications executive director, filling the slot vacated last summer by Seth Oster.

Greenwalt comes to the Guild from Ullico, the private union-owned financial services company; she was VP of corporate marketing communications at the Washington, D.C., headquarters.

She’ll begin work as SAG’s public voice on Feb. 26 in the first exec appointment under new SAG exec director Doug Allen, who has promised to expand SAG’s footprint in marketing and licensing. Greenwalt will be based at SAG’s Hollywood headquarters and report to Pamm Fair, deputy national executive director.

“Pamela’s extraordinary background and expertise in labor union marketing communications and strategic planning makes her a valuable addition to our senior staff team,” Fair said.

She’s joining SAG at a level below that of Oster, who served two years as deputy national exec director. He recently joined the Motion Picture Assn. of America as exec VP for communications.
Greenwalt has worked for two decades in strategic marketing communications, including a stint with the Kamber Group in Washington, D.C., where she led account planning and creative development for the firm’s labor union and public safety practices. She also was an exec at Goddard Claussen First Tuesday in Malibu, where she oversaw film and video production and advertising.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117958515.html
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And now, Everything You Wanted to Know About Pamela Greenwalt but was afraid to ask!

Pamela Greenwalt

Pamela Greenwalt’s portfolio includes internal and external communications program development and execution, brand management, media relations, challenge communications, market and audience research, direct response, and print and electronic collateral development and distribution.

Prior to joining ULLICO, Greenwalt was Senior Vice President and Director of Public Affairs for The Kamber Group (TKG), one of America’s leading privately held public relations firms. At TKG, she specialized in labor union and public safety communications with primary responsibility for account and campaign planning, media relations, advertising and special event management for numerous international labor unions.

Greenwalt produced award winning films, videos, conventions, events and public relations and advertising campaigns for clients including the Laborers’ International Union of North America; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters and Service Techs; International Longshoremen’s Association; United Food and Commercial Workers; Sheet Metal Workers’

International Association; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. She also served a roster of corporate, political, association and public safety clients including Bristol-Myers Squibb, PyroCap International, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the National Association of Police Organizations.

Previously Vice President of Media Production and Placement with Goddard*Claussen/First Tuesday. She was a media production and planning strategist for numerous electoral campaigns including Swift for Congress, Melcher for Senate, Unsoeld for Congress, King for Congress, Babbitt for President and Jackson ’88.

Prior to her tenure at Goddard-Claussen, Greenwalt was an independent businesswoman and President of Goodnight Media and Killer Productions.

Greenwalt attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She has been honored with nearly 100 industry awards for excellence in public relations, advertising, film and video production, and event design and management.

Good luck to PR Pam! Hopefully she will do a “Killer” Job!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

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Hollywood Reporter Interview with Doug Allen SAG begins changes with Allen

April 19, 2007 (19:04) | 2007 | By: Arlin Miller

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Posted: Thurs., Jan. 25, 2007, 4:45pm PT

SAG begins changes with Allen
Guild hands ball to former football pro/union exec

By DAVE MCNARY

The Screen Actors Guild, which has a knack for attracting attention, has been unusually quiet in recent months amid an absence of the usual internal battles.

Instead, the guild’s going through a near-revolutionary change with an outsider — former NFL Players Assn. exec Doug Allen — brought in to manage the world’s most famous performers’ union.

It’s the first time SAG has ever gone outside the industry to fill its top slot.

Allen faces a daunting array of challenges — sorting out jurisdictional fights with AFTRA, trying to re-establish SAG’s oversight of talent agents, and prepping for complex negotiations amid worries that the 120,000 SAG members will walk out when the contract expires June 30, 2008.

But he’s clearly started at a time of unexpected harmony. For example, no opposition has emerged to a proposal by SAG leaders for a dues increase that would boost the basic annual membership fee by $16 and double the earnings cap on dues to $1 million.
SAG currently receives approximately 1.85% of an actor’s annual earnings up to $200,000, then .5% for earnings between $200,000 and $500,000. The new proposal would call for an additional .25% due to the union on paydays between $500,000 and $1 million.
So it’s likely that Allen will have a honeymoon period for at least a few more months. He arrived on Jan. 8 and his low-key manner served him well in the first days of his job as national executive director at SAG, where internal disagreements often escalate into firefights.

Allen, a former Buffalo Bills linebacker, made no proclamations of a new era and spoke mostly in broad strokes when he addressed SAG headquarters staff in his second day on the job.

“What I emphasized was striving for excellence, communication, transparency and persistence,” he notes. “We talked mostly about what to do and very little about what not to do. I’m not in a hurry to make changes, but I will do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.”

That said, Allen didn’t look to make changes in personnel — at least right off the bat, adding, “There’s no need to tear down SAG to build it up again.”

So the obvious question is: How can his experience at the NFLPA possibly help him at SAG?

“I think there are a lot of similarities between the NFLPA and the guild,” he responds. “At the NFLPA, we represented people in made-for-TV programming, regulated agents, created pension and health plans and had a board made up of volunteers. The president is an active player, and the employers are a multiemployer unit, so there are a lot of familiar things about SAG that make me comfortable being here.”

Three months earlier, Allen had been endorsed unanimously and received a standing ovation from the SAG board of directors — a startling reversal from the long history of acrimonious boardroom battles. A year earlier, that same board had been bitterly split over firing CEO Greg Hessinger, who had lasted only six months in the job when control of the boardroom shifted to the Hollywood-based faction led by newly elected SAG president Alan Rosenberg.

But since then, Rosenberg’s placed a high priority on fence-mending with other SAG leaders. He’s gone to 19 different cities in a self-described “Unity Tour” to promote the notion of presenting a united front at negotiations next year.

And he’s stayed in touch with high-profile actors, partly because he’s married to one, Marg Helgenberger of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” He recently portrayed what he called a “creepy public defender” on the show, facing off against a prosecutor played by SAG board member Anne-Marie Johnson.

“When I talk with high-profile actors, they are acutely aware that we’re not getting our fair share — particularly in new areas like downloads,” he says.
For now, though, it’s the Writers Guild of America that has amped up Hollywood’s fears of a strike due to the scribes’ refusal to negotiate a new deal until midsummer. Rosenberg — who’s already said he’ll seek a second two-year term — helped negotiate four new contracts last year and has taken a far less strident path about the film-TV contract negotiations.

“All we’ve ever said is that we want to make a deal, and I’m totally confident that we will,” he adds.
Rosenberg’s also a fan of Allen and recently presented him with a framed copy of a 32-year-old page from the Buffalo Evening News featuring Allen as a rising star on the Bills. “We’re ready for him to take us to a new level,” he says.

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The Ol’ Dog has learned that the only major changes imposed by our new NED includes a new staff dress code, and that the dues referendum is not to be referred to as an increase–but a HIKE!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Photo and formatting is SW’s.

This article appeared in the Hollywood Reporter.

First And Goal

SAG’s Incoming National Executive Director Doug Allen discusses His Priorities For 2007 And How He Plans To Leverage His Experience With The NFL in Dealing with Issues Facing Actors.

It’s a tough call to say which previous work experience best pre-pared Doug Allen for his new position as national executive director and chief negotiator of the Screen Actors Guild. Was it his long tenure as assistant executive director of the NFL Players Assn. or per- haps his prior stint cracking heads and tackling slippery characters during his two seasons as a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills? A Pennsylvania State University labor studies and industrial relations graduate, Allen was credited during his tenure at the NFLPA with founding the Washington-based organization’s licensing and marketing subsidiary, Players Inc. Unanimously approved for his SAG slot by the
guild’s national board in October, Allen assumed his duties earlier this month and spoke with The Hollywood Reporter’s labor editor Carl DiOrio shortly before assuming his post Jan. 8.

What skill sets from your past endeavors will be most applicable to your new duties at SAG?

I was a member and a staff person from a union that represents talent, who are represented by agents, who have a direct relationship with the union. So, there are a lot of resonances between my experience at the (NFLPA) that will inform how I conduct myself at the Screen Actors Guild.

There has been a suggestion that you might be able to draw on your experience in football licensing deals to do something similar at SAG. Can you sketch out any prospects?

It’s a really important concept for everybody who’s involved in the labor movement to explore the way you can use the expertise of your union and its members related to- but not limited to intellectual property to generate income for the members and revenue for the union. There are some ways that we can do that, which haven’t yet been explored, but it’s been done very successfully already with the SAG Awards and the television production. There is a way to promote actors and acting in a union environment, which the access that this union has to its members will allow us to do.

Have you been keeping an eye on the Hollywood labor scene in anticipation of making a move into the arena?

Sure. There are people I have met and people 1 haven’t met. There are a number of issues I’ve had the chance to talk to people about and some I haven’t yet. I’m engaged in a listening and learning and thinking process right now that I expect will be helpful as I start my official capacity. But I think I’m beginning to get a handle on what’s going on and who’s doing what to whom.


Do you have a single top priority in 2007?


To do my job as productively and competently and successfully as I can.


How do you view SAG’s relationship with AFTRA?

That’s a very important issue and one I’m interested in dealing with as soon as possible. I need to spend some time with the officers and staff of AFTRA and with our officers and staff, and that’s a conversation, which needs to be continued. It’s obviously gone on for some time, and particularly between now and 2008, it’s important for us to discuss our relationship and how that’s going to work in the future. It’s a really important relationship, and we need to define it appropriately and figure out how that’s going to work. But I will tell you, with that issue -as well as with a number of other priority issues -there are two things that I’m going to use as considerations in judging how I feel about things: Does it make sense, and is it good for members of the Screen Actors Guild?

How do you view SAG’s relationship with the other Hollywood guilds?

Unions in the same industry should share information and, as much as is possible, should work together at things. I have to do what’s in the best interest of the Screen Actors Guild and what’s been adopted as policy by our board. (But) just as employers share information and cooperate with each other- certainly in the labor-relationship arena – it’s important for unions to do that as much as we can and still to serve our own members’ particular interests.

Do you think you will be able to get some of the disparate SAG factions to work in closer harmony?

The tradition and history of this union is a very active, participatory democracy, and that’s one of its resources and one of the things I like best about it. But that kind of tradition carries a responsibility. When you have a tradition in which the view of the minority is protected and where the democratic process is very important -as an example of that, when the officers can be elected by a plurality that’s not a majority -(that) comes with a responsibility to use the democratic machinery to make effective decisions for the membership and to build coalitions based on the issues.

There are certain issues that are of particular interest to different geo- graphic parts of the country, (but) this is a union that represents all of the members, and we have to govern ourselves in a way that is representative of that and which gets things done. That doesn’t mean we will always agree on how to do it. The minority should be listened to and respected. But things are done by a majority vote of the board or the membership. Sometimes, it’s harder to get things done in a really active democracy, but I’d rather have it like that than have a dictatorship.

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An LM2 Corrections SAG President Rosenberg wins poker championship, but still ask for dues increase.

April 19, 2007 (19:03) | 2007 | By: Arlin Miller

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These two stories sound like a bit for the Jay Leno Show! Actually it would’ve been funnier if the SAG Prez had lost the poker championship, and ask for a dues increase, but, but, you can’t have everything I guess.

SAG Members to Decide on Dues Hike
Guild: Money needed for contract negotiations in ’08.
January 19, 2007
By Lauren Horwitch
While many enjoyed a day off in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., some employees at the Screen Actors Guild were busily preparing thousands of ballots sent Jan. 16 that will determine whether the union will get its first dues increase in eight years. Union leaders say they need the extra funds to improve the Guild’s residuals department, create a new-technology department, and prepare for renegotiating the TV/Theatrical and Commercials contracts in 2008.

The measure would increase the annual dues $16, the initiation fee $737, and subject the union’s wealthier members to higher fees. It also could serve as a barometer of support for SAG national president Alan Rosenberg, who backs the increase and is seeking another two-year term.

“Our biggest responsibility as caretakers of this great union is making sure it remains healthy and strong,” Rosenberg and Secretary-Treasurer Connie Stevens said in a joint statement distributed Oct. 22. “This increase will put us in the best possible position heading into the TV/Theatrical and Commercials contract negotiations of 2008 by financing research and building up reserves, thrusting the Guild into a prosperous new era.”

Ballots for the initiative, which was approved by 98 percent of SAG’s national board at its plenary meeting in October, are due back by Feb. 14. If the rank and file approve, it would be the first dues hike since 1999 and only the second since 1988.

It would also raise the contentious “dues cap,” which exempts members from paying additional dues on annual earnings above $500,000. If members vote for the increase, actors with six-figure paychecks would be required to pay 0.25 percent dues on earnings between $500,001 and $1 million. The new dues structure would go into effect in May.

Sweet 16?

Sixteen dollars doesn’t seem like much. But it’s unclear how members will vote on the initiative. Voting members turned down the last proposed dues increase in 2004, which would have brought the Guild an additional $7.3 million annually.

Arlin Miller, a voiceover actor and editor of SAGWatchdog.com, said he isn’t against the increase but suggests members consider SAG’s current rosy financial state before they cast their votes. Last week he posted figures from the Guild’s annual financial reports (known as LM-2s), filed with the Department of Labor, showing that SAG’s net assets increased about $1.6 million from 2004 to ’05. According to Miller, the 2006 LM-2 report due to be filed next month will show those assets have increased another $6 million in the last year. “Obviously, we’re in pretty good financial shape, but there’s a lot of things on the table,” said Miller. Back Stage was unable to obtain a copy of the unpublished 2006 report.

Miller also posted data from the most recent LM-2, filed in September, showing that 31 out of SAG’s 382 employees make more than $100,000 per year. Those six-figure earners, include Peter Frank, interim national executive director and CEO; Pamm Fair, deputy national executive director for policy and strategic planning; and new hires Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, general counsel, and Tom La Grua, deputy national executive director for contracts. A FAQ on the Guild’s website states that most employees earn less than $7,500 per year from SAG jobs.

By comparison, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ latest LM-2 reports only one staffer out of its 57 makes more than $100,000 per year: Pat O’Donnell, executive director of the Washington, D.C.Baltimore branch. The Writers Guild of America West’s 2006 LM-2 reports that 29 of its 182 staffers earn salaries in the six figures.

SAG Hollywood board member David Jolliffe said the union is “sensitive to every dollar that an actor has to pay.” He added, “We’re trying to be as fiscally responsible as we can. To implement these new departments that we want and new staffing, it’s going to cost&hellip. We want to stay as solvent and strong as possible going into our negotiations.”

He noted that the negotiations and the improvement and creation of new departments would deplete SAG’s financial reserves.

Rosenberg to Run

The outcome of the dues initiative might also serve as a barometer of Rosenberg’s popularity as he prepares to run for a second term. His party, Membership First, ousted his ally Anne-Marie Johnson in an October election of the Hollywood board when the group chose Kent McCord as 1st vice president. Johnson still serves on the Hollywood board and as an advisor to Rosenberg.

Jolliffe, aligned with Membership First, said the majority of actors still support Rosenberg. “Alan is very well liked amongst everybody I know of,” he said. “He’s done an outstanding job to bridge these divides between the philosophical differences that we have within the union. I think he’s doing a good job.”

Miller also endorses Rosenberg and agrees that a dues increase could be a good thingif SAG leadership uses the funds as promised. “I think there’s a lot of dedicated people on the board and on the staff,” he said. “And I think that if they’re going to use this dues increase, which isn’t too tough on the little guy and the big guy will pay an extra couple of grand, then it would be worthwhile.”

Fair and SAG New York branch president Paul Christie were unable to comment by press time.

One teenie weenie thing! The Ol’ Dog has not endorsed Alan Rosenberg for president if, and when, he runs again.

Ms. Horwitch is a fine reporter, but sometimes things get misunderstood on the telephone. At this point, I’m taking a wait and see attitude. Mr. Rosenberg, has done some good things, but blew it big time with his media distillation and dismissal of one of our finest and most dedicated members Kent McCord as little more that a middle-aged White Man. Also, I will need to be reassured that he will not bring outside politics inside SAG.

*Also, an article mistatement in the confusing AFTRA LM2’s. AFTRA has at least 19 employees who make over *money One hundred thousand dollars a year. For instance Kim Roberts AFTRA NED made $305,525 dollars in 2006, while Executive Director, Steve Burrow made $230,130 dollars, Richard Larkin Assoc. Executive Dir. $186,059 dollars, and Mathis Dunn Assist. National Exec. Dir made $183,991 dollars.

SAG Prez Named Sundance Poker Champ

January 23, 2007
Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg emerged as the victor of the Sundance Film Festival’s celebrity poker tournament on Sunday.

The President trounced competitors such as actors Danny Masterson, David Moscow, and David Denman, singer Lance Bass, media mogul Nick Cannon, and World Series of Poker Champions Jamie Gold and Todd Brunson.

The fundraiser hosted at 5W Public Relations’ Sundance Escape 2007 mansion raised $10,000 for the non-profit Operation Smile.

— Lauren Horwitch


A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

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AFTRA Board Member Browde Fires Back Boyderline Remarks: “Mean Ol’ Memo, ” Part Three! Bonus articles on Dues Increase from Variety and De Prez!

April 19, 2007 (19:03) | 2007 | By: Arlin Miller

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As we join, Ms. Boyd in Part Three of her memo, she gives us her Boyd’s eye view of what it takes to make it in showbiz.

Truth is, if you have talent, a modicum of good fortune, and oh yes – a franchised AGENT, you can qualify for health and retirement in both unions. The really good working performers vest in all three.

WOOF ! Only one word comes to mind after that statement. SMUG! It has been my experience that those that cannot see beyond their own limited personal experience, cannot govern beyond their own limited personal needs.

Your friends at MembershipFirst! are shadow boxing about benefits hoping you’ll miss the point. I’d much rather have two pensions than one set at a ridiculously low cap.

WOOF ! The only shadows we’re concerned about, are the shadowy deals AFTRA makes. And then, when they get caught, they proclaim, “but, but, we only did it once.” And of course, if AFTRA stops poaching SAG shows, that would in no way prevent dual card members from still earning two pensions–and it would prevent SAG members from splitting their benefits when forced to do those poached AFTRA shows.

ICM: nice try, dog pac. AFTRA has a good and steady relationship with the ATA, and is talking through the points of the new ICM structure.

WOOF ! Oh, yeah AFTRA has a great relationship with the ATA/NATR, especially since they sold their members out for 500,000 pieces of silver to sign their go-along-to-get-along ATA/NATR deal!

It’s good enough for the California Labor Commissioner.

WOOF ! Yeah, and so is a TWENTY PERCENT COMMISSION! And if there was no SAG to represent actors, and only AFTRA and their current lock-step leadership, I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before agents would be getting it.

Dog and company may want to ask the DGA and WGA (there are other guilds that have offices in Hollywood) if they have a problem with it. What these few SAG Hollywood members are complaining about is unclear, since the ATA is not affiliated with SAG and has no plans to talk to SAG anytime soon.

WOOF ! Few Hollywood SAG members? It seems to the Ol’ Dog that in the ATA/NATR agents referendum, SAG’s membership overwhelmingly voted against giving agents the same deal that AFTRA’s leadership turned over to them. As I said, without a membership referendum, and for a payoff of a half million dollars. No, SAG does not CURRENTLY have an affiliation with ATA/NATR agents, but that’s because of the very Hollywood leadership that Ms. Boyd supported in the past: the now defunct Restore Respect/Campaign for Unity parties who got their butts royally kicked in the last two elections.

During the last election cycle when campaign materials proudly stated that talks with the agents were ongoing and a deal would be struck soon, in fact there were no such talks and no deal was on the table.

WOOF ! Although the Ol’ Dog has been critical of both the Restore Respect reign, and now the Membership First reign for not forcing ATA/NATR Agents to franchise, Ms. Boyd is once again stretching the truth. MembershipFirst! had no campaign material stating that a deal would be struck soon.

What does a little stretching of the truth hurt? A lot, as it turns out.

WOOF ! Yeah, so stop it!

The “loyal” AFTRA/SAG dual card holders at the membership meeting orchestrated a nice little bash, but it had little to do with truth.

WOOF ! Hmmm, so why did Ms. Boyd vote for a motion that had little to do with the truth? Hmmm … oh, I see. Change of pace.

Truth is more complex than they would have us believe.

WOOF ! Ah, you mean, like “Oh, that show would have gone non-union if we hadn’t of low-balled SAG’s rate.”

But here are a couple of simple FAQs for when things get murky with the dog and his pals: How could we have solved the “split health and retirement” dilemma these folks are so worried about on your behalf?
Merger.

WOOF ! Hmmm, methinks Ms. Boyd is conflicted. First she is telling us that two pensions are better than one, and now she is pushing merger.

How could we work effectively together to achieve parity in rates and conditions across all contracts?
Merger.

WOOF ! Or then again, AFTRA could stop low-balling SAG contracts.

How could we best work together in the face of management consolidation and rampant non-union production?
That would be oh, yes! merger.

WOOF ! For someone that is telling us how much better AFTRA is than SAG, boy, she sure wants to merge. As for the rampant non-union production, that’s with shows in AFTRA’s jurisdiction: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, and various reality, cable, and local radio stations. You could name probably a hundred high profile AFTRA members who are currently doing non-union work under AFTRA’s jurisdiction but would have a hard time coming up with any SAG members doing the same under SAG’s jurisdiction. It’s called Global Rule One–and AFTRA ain’t got it.

Who defeated the merger plans not once, but twice in the last decade, even when 58% of SAG members across the country voted in favor of it? Your friends at MembershipFirst! the ol’ dog and the pac.

WOOF ! There have been numerous attempts to merge in SAG’s seventy plus year history–and all have failed, huh, and everyone of them failed because of MembershipFirst? * Susan and her pals still haven’t gotten the message. SAG members do not want to merge with AFTRA. They just want AFTRA’s leaders to stop screwing them in order to stuff AFTRA’s empty coffers!

You’ll have to ask them why. We who work in this business (under all the contracts) can’t figure it out.

WOOF ! Like I said

SMUG!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Speaking of empty coffers, I thought you might enjoy this little response to an AFTRA Board Member on Showfax Bulletin Board! It pretty well spells out AFTRA’s finances. Oh, and after this, the latest Variety Article on SAG’s dues increase.

David Browde: AFTRA takes less from its members in dues, and is very careful about how it spends money, avoiding bloated salaries and waste, especially multi-million dollar waste. This is among the reasons that AFTRA hasn’t imposed annual dues increases, yet remains in solid financial shape!

A.L.: Actually, an examination of the facts indicates that the reason AFTRA wasn’t in the red in 2006, has nothing to do with its leaderships efficiency but, rather, with its reliance on dues assessments and increases, along with SAG’s yearly branch contract payments for shared administrative cost and office space.

For the last decade and a half, AFTRA has been pretty much touch and go in the financial department.

From the Hollywood Reporter Aug 7th, 2000:Despite a significant dues increase last year, AFTRA continues to bleed red ink.

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists’ latest financial report shows that the union lost nearly $3 million last year and is projecting another $1.6 million loss this year. Last year’s deficit was the union’s sixth in a row

A.L.: Let’s use the available LM-2 figures for the last three years to calculate how much AFTRA would be in the hole if not for the membership dues bailout, and SAG branch contract payments.

2006 AFTRA LM-2: Net Assets———————- $8,992,236
Lets deduct assessment revenue for 2004/2005: -$5,864,150
Without assessment AFTRA’s net assets would be $3,128,086

But wait, deduct money the dues increase added
to AFTRA’s coffers in the last 3 years: (2004} -$967,867

(2005) -$916,394

(2006)-$1,031,591

Remaining total AFTRA net assets after deductions: $212,234

But wait,again! We forgot to deduct those branch payments
to AFTRA.

Branch payments to AFTRA: $2,441,529 (2004)
Branch payments to AFTRA: $1,989,231 (2005)
Branch payments to AFTRA: $1,992,236 (2006)
Total branch deductions equals $6,422,996

Now, let’s deduct SAG’s total branch payments to AFTRA of $6,422,996 from AFTRA’s remaining net assets of $212,234. Uh-Oh! Total AFTRA Net Assets are MINUS $6,210,762

Total AFTRA assets without membership bailouts $ SAG branch payments MINUS $6,210,762 Dollars

So, it seems even with less dues, frugal spending, avoidance of bloated salaries and waste, contrary to Mr. Browde’s claims, the only reason AFTRA remains in “solid financial shape,” is because of membership dues/assessment bailouts, and a substantial injection of SAG money annually.

Otherwise instead of being $8,992,236 in the black, AFTRA would be $6,210,762 in the RED!

And instead of being on solid financial ground, AFTRA would be in a very deep hole, yelling up to SAG actors, ]”Hey could you guys drop some more of your money down here *money?”

Hmmm, again! Come to think about it that’s what they are doing anyway.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief

This following was posted on the Showfax Bulletin Board by AFTRA Board Member David Browde in response to the above.

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:42 am Post subject: Nice to know that Mr. Miller is consistent… if consistently wrong

Continuing his apparently never ending spam-fest to promote his blog, Mr. Miller has chosen to reprint, in a forum that prevents any direct correction, his previous misstatements regarding AFTRA’s financial condition.

While his arithmetic is correct, that’s where it ends. His characterization of money paid by members to their union, and money SAG pays to obtain service for its members as a “bailout” is colorful, but absurd. His partisan attacks are predictable, but nonetheless require response, lest his disinformation be taken as fact.

The fact is that AFTRA is operating in the black, due both to increased membership and financial discipline imposed by its Boards of Directors and executed by its professional staff. The fact is that AFTRA has done so while not increasing dues this year, even though it had the authority to do so.

The fact is that if AFTRA were not providing service to SAG members in the branches, AFTRA would not be paying the salaries of the staff members who provide those services. Perhaps in Mr. Miller’s world those SAG members outside of Hollywood shouldn’t get any services.

The view I’ve heard from AFTRA’s leadership (and that I endorse) is that talent knows no zipcode.


So, bottom line, Mr. Browde does not dispute my LM2 figures that prove AFTRA’s net assets would be MINUS $6,210,762 dollars without member assessments, dues increases and SAG branch payments. Our difference of opinion is in our characterization of those events.

He sees them as a result of AFTRA leaderships’ financial discipline, I, on the other hand, do not credit AFTRA’s current situation with any financial prowess on its leaders part, but rather, bailouts implemented without members feedback, and revenue derived from SAG.

And contrary, to Mr. Browde’s unwarranted claim, I do think SAG members should get services, but rather than through AFTRA, those services should be administered by SAG through the dictates of SAG’s Towers Perrin report, or another appropiate method under SAG’s auspices. (Towers/Perrin was in progress, until abruptly sidetracked by CEO Pisano’s grand CONsolidation scheme.)

I do find it interesting at the beginning of one paragraph Mr. Browde admits my information is correct and yet further down in the paragraph, he accuses me of disinformation without identifying what that disinformation might be.

You got to love his noble non sequitur about talent having no zip code! As if anyone had indicated that it did. However, jurisdiction does have a zip code, and if AFTRA doesn’t stay out of SAG’s territory, it could find itself left holding the bag while SAG ends up with all actors signed, sealed and delivered.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Posted: Tue., Jan. 16, 2007, 7:55pm PT

SAG asks for hike in dues

Could be first increase in 8 years

By DAVE MCNARY

With no opposition in sight, Screen Actors Guild leaders are asking the 120,000 members of the performers union for the first dues hike in eight years.

Ballots for the referendum measure — which will hike the annual base dues from $100 to $116 — went out Tuesday and are due back Feb. 15.

The cover letter, signed by all six top national officers, characterized the increase as “modest” and said the additional funds will be used for better residuals processing, a New Technologies department, better organizing and a healthier overall fiscal platform.

“We all know that technology is rapidly changing and SAG must expand its reach to include every new and future format,” the missive said. “As representatives for professional actors, we are committed to keeping actors working, no matter how our work is recorded or captured, what size the screen is or where the work is done. But advocacy takes resources.”

SAG’s current film-TV contract won’t expire until June 2008, but negotiations are expected to be contentious due to the difficulties of reaching agreement on how to compensate actors for programming via downloads and other new media platforms.

As for SAG residual checks, delays in delivery often stretch into several months. The Guild receives more than 200,000 such checks per month, but hasn’t ever been able to convince studios and nets to automate the process.

The AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union, which has been handling about 20,000 checks monthly, stopped direct deposit of the checks last month after providing the service for the past three decades. The credit union asserted that the amount of time it was taking for the process was unacceptable and placed the blame on a lack of automation.

SAG notes in the referendum pamphlet that its base dues will still be lower than AFTRA at $127.80 and the DGA at $200. The current WGA West base is $100 annually.

Other changes in SAG’s dues structure call for hiking the initiation fee from $1,474 to $2,211 and doubling the cap on annual earnings subject to dues from the current $500,000 to $1 million. The new structure will assess dues at a rate of 0.25%, in addition to maintaining the current assessments of 1.85% for earnings up to $200,000 and 0.5% for earnings between $200,000 and $500,000.

So an actor making $1 million in a year would currently see $5,200 of that go to SAG dues; under the new structure, another $1,250 would go into SAG’s coffers.

When SAG’s national board approved the dues increase last October, it turned down a proposal to include a minority report with the referendum. But no organized opposition has emerged since then.
In 2004, SAG members turned down a dues hike that would have raised an additional $7.3 million for the $43 million annual budget. Proposal called for base dues to increase by $30 per year to $130 and for work dues to rise from 1.85% to 1.95% for earnings under $200,000 and from 0.5% to 1% on wages from $200,000 to $500,000; new-member initiation fees would have jumped from $1,356 to $2,085.

The subsequent sales pitch to members was two-fold: Additional funds were needed for a war chest for use in negotiations and for aggressive pursuit and expansion of member service programs.

In 1999, SAG members had OK’d their first dues increase in a dozen years, with base moved up from $85 to $100 a year. Approval came after leaders asserted that without the raise services would be cut and reserves would be drained.

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And now De Prez!

January 17, 2007
Dear Screen Actors Guild Members,

An official Screen Actors Guild ballot was mailed yesterday to all members who qualify to vote regarding dues and initiation fees, as well as amendments to our constitution that would change current election and referendum requirements. I urge you to support these initiatives and vote YES.

If approved, those of you who earn less than $500,000 per year would pay only $16 more per year or about a nickel a day. Those who make over $500,000 would pay the $16 plus an increase in work dues, and the proposed earnings cap for work dues would go up to $1 million. Though $16 a year is a small amount for most members, this increase will enable us to:
Better prepare for upcoming contract negotiations
Expand our jurisdiction and create more SAG jobs through aggressive organizing
Fight for your rights in every new media format
Improve residuals processing
Fight right-to-work laws
Support iactor, our new online casting system

The proposed initiation fee would raise the current fee from $1,474 to $2,211. The national board made a commitment to carefully evaluate the impact of the new initiation fee in SAG branches around the country (many branches currently have national board reduced initiation fee waivers in place to encourage non-union actors to join as part of branch organizing efforts). As 22 states now have anti-union right-to-work laws, many non-members continue to work our contracts and take advantage of our representation without ever having to join SAG. Clearly, initiation fees have to be adjusted in some areas to insure that we bring non-union actors into the flock.

We must ensure our union’s strength and fiscal health, boost bargaining clout heading into the 2008 negotiations, and fund key initiatives such as a new technology department which is so vital in this ever-changing media landscape.
This would be our first dues increase since 1999 and only the second hike in 19 years. Please watch for your ballot in the mail in the coming daysread the materials carefully, and vote YES to support our Guild.

Please call (800) 217-6121 or email refinfo@sag.org if you have questions.

In solidarity,
Alan Rosenberg

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