Posts by Brian Hamilton:
The below understandings shall be operative during the “Pandemic Period,” which shall end on April 30, 2021, unless extended by our unions by mutual agreement.
1. SAG-AFTRA hereby grants the necessary waiver permitting, during the Pandemic Period, AEA to enter into agreements with existing Equity bargaining partners to cover work that is produced to be exhibited on a digital platform, either as a replacement for specific live theater productions that cannot take place because of the pandemic, or for a partially virtual/digital audience that supplements a live audience during the Pandemic Period, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
- a. The work may include live readings, staged readings, live theater, and other performances in the
general nature of theater;
- b. The performance is intended to be similar to those offered for live performance, and any editing of the recording is limited to only minor editing;
- c. The digital platform on which the work is to be exhibited must be a restricted platform that can be accessed only by ticket holders or subscribers of the existing Equity bargaining partner. Exhibition on streaming services that offer access to recorded programming is specifically prohibited, including but not limited to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and its affiliates, HBO Max, Disney+, AppleTV+, CBS All Access, Peacock, etc.
- d. The Equity bargaining partner may only offer as many works simultaneously as it has separate theater spaces, replicating the live theater business model. For example, if a bargaining partner has two theaters, it may offer no more than two simultaneous productions, and must close one production before offering another. If the bargaining partner traditionally offers productions in repertory or other supplemental productions, the bargaining partner may offer no more than two simultaneous productions per performance space.
- e. The total audience permitted to view the performance does not exceed, in the aggregate, the following: the full, unrestricted seating capacity in the corresponding theater of the Equity bargaining partner, plus an additional amount equal to 100% of that capacity not to exceed 950 persons, all of the foregoing multiplied by the normal number of performances presented in that theater, not to exceed eight performances per week, multiplied by the number of weeks the performance is offered. AEA must secure the advance consent of SAG-AFTRA prior to authorizing any bargaining partner to exceed these limitations by more than 10%;
- f. The foregoing shall not include work that is more in the nature of a television show or movie, including work that is shot out of chronological order, or that is substantially edited prior to exhibition, or that includes visual effects or other elements that could not be replicated in a live manner.
- g. Any production that AEA has contracted for with a bargaining partner pursuant to this waiver may complete its scheduled run notwithstanding the expiration or termination of this waiver, provided that scheduled run does not extend more than six months past the expiration or termination date of this waiver.
2. The parties acknowledge and agree that work done for recorded or broadcast/livestreamed media falls within SAG-AFTRA’s exclusive jurisdiction. Actors’ Equity acknowledges that SAG-AFTRA’s position and the historical practice of the parties is that such jurisdiction includes the transmission of a live theater performance outside the theater itself, or the recording of a performance for such purpose. SAGA-FTRA acknowledges that live theatre performances generally fall within Actors’ Equity’s exclusive jurisdiction, but that provisions in some AEA collective bargaining agreements do involve limited recording and/or transmission of Equity productions by Equity employers. Actors’ Equity agrees that it will not use this Agreement or the fact of any Actors’ Equity coverage of work that is recorded for transmission to an outside audience during the Pandemic Period or thereafter as evidence of Actors’ Equity’s jurisdiction. These acknowledgements shall be binding and shall not expire with the end of the Pandemic Period.
3. During the Pandemic Period, SAG-AFTRA will refer back to AEA any existing AEA signatory employer that approaches SAG-AFTRA seeking to cover work described in Paragraph 1. SAG-AFTRA and AEA will continue their longstanding practice of referring back to the other union work that clearly falls within the other union’s traditional jurisdiction.
4. This Agreement may be terminated by either party upon sixty (60) days notice, provided, however, that the provisions of subparagraph 1(g) and paragraph 2 will remain in effect.
5. SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity agree that a small senior staff working group will regularly meet to discuss work performed under paragraph 1 and any issues that arise. The working group may refer issues to leadership for further discussion and resolution
By Jacob Kirn Economic Development Editor, St. Louis Business Journal
Sep 29, 2020, 3:52pm EDT
Robin Smith worked 42 years in television news, notably as the longtime noon anchor for KMOV Channel 4.
One benefit of longevity, she said, was the promise that the health plan of SAG-AFTRA, the American union for broadcasters and film and television actors, would cover her health insurance in retirement.
But after paying dues for decades, Smith, now 66, said the union health plan announced this summer it would drop coverage for retirees Jan. 1, disallowing the use of residuals income to qualify for new income thresholds. Instead, Smith said she was, in effect, directed to the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Though SAG-AFTRA offered reduced Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) premiums for a period, Smith said that and the ACA plans would be inferior to her current insurance, for which she pays just $30 or $40 a month. The new plan is also giving seniors and their spouses up to $2,280 a year through a health reimbursement account.
“They’ve been taking my money for 42 years, and now they’re saying, ‘I lied to you. Guess what? I was just kidding,'” Smith said.
The change will affect other local broadcasters who are union members. That’s because the plan is also raising the floor for eligibility from those earning $18,040 a year to $25,950. Premiums will also increase.
The downturn in entertainment productions has worsened plan finances, since fewer dues are being paid, according to reports. Increased health costs have also been cited.
“The Trustees of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan have taken a difficult but necessary action to address financial deficits facing the plan,” it said, adding that it made the changes after projecting deficits of $141 million this year and $83 million in 2021. The plan said without changes it could run out of reserves by 2024.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
OCTOBER 02, 2020 6:59am PT by Eriq Gardner
The FCC gets the high court to review a lower court’s order to examine how deregulation would impact ownership of TV and radio stations by women and minorities.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up cases examining media ownership rules. On Friday, the high court announced that it would be reviewing a lower court’s direction to the FCC to examine how proposed deregulation would impact ownership of TV and radio stations by women and minorities.
As part of a mandate under the Telecommunications Act, the FCC examines ownership rules every four years. Back in 2002, the media regulatory agency decided that in light of new media sources like the internet, it no longer made sense anymore to maintain a ban on a given company owning a local newspaper and broadcast station in a single market. The FCC also reconsidered its restrictions of ownership of multiple local television stations. But the FCC’s changes ran into the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which has since repeatedly put its foot down to attempts at deregulation.
“The Commission did not adequately consider the effect its sweeping rule changes will have on ownership of broadcast media by women and racial minorities,” wrote Judge Thomas Ambro of the 3rd Circuit in a ruling last September.
Both the FCC and the National Association of Broadcasters then petitioned the high court to look at the opinion from the 3rd Circuit.
The U.S. government argues that the lower appellate circuit has overstepped itself by turning a review of rules meant to ensure healthy competition of viewpoints into a test of what best promotes diversity
Dozens of stunt performers have signed a letter sent today to the leadership of SAG-AFTRA calling for an end to “wigging” – the age-old practice of putting wigs and dresses on stuntmen so they can double for actresses – and “paint-downs,” in which dark make-up is applied to white stunt performers so that they can double for actors of color. “In the stunt industry, diversity and inclusion have long been overlooked and discouraged, and it’s long past time for these practices to end,” said stuntwoman Crystal Santos, who spearheaded the campaign.
In response to the letter, SAG-AFTRA said that it “stands in solidarity with performers whose opportunities to work in stunt roles have been denied or limited because of bias against women, minorities and performers with disabilities. SAG-AFTRA has long recognized the difficulties faced by diverse performers seeking to establish themselves as stunt professionals and has bargained into our main television and film contract language that requires producers and stunt coordinators to consider and endeavor to cast women, minorities and performers with disabilities for stunt roles. Our contract also explicitly addresses the practice of ‘painting down’ and provides that this practice is ‘presumptively improper.’