SAG, AFTRA moving towards merging health, retirement plans
Discussions currently progressing between the two orgs
Opponents of the merger unsuccessfully filed a federal lawsuit in February, alleging that SAG had not followed its own rules due to its failure to conduct a comprehensive analysis of combining the SAG and AFTRA pension and health plans, which are operated separately from the unions and overseen by union-industry boards.
During the weekend meeting, leaders of SAG-AFTRA also set in motion plans for next year’s elections and board structure, which will be in place next September. The number of national board seats allotted for the 25 locals will be 70 with Los Angeles having 28 and New York with 16.
The national board will also contain the 10 national officers, bringing its total size to 80.
Due to bringing in about 70,000 AFTRA members, the new structure represents a dimunition of the influence held by Los Angeles and New York in governance of SAG with LA holding about 60 percent of the board seats and New York with 25 percent. Total membership of SAG-AFTRA is about 165,000.
SAG-AFTRA noted that it has restructured its organization from 33 locals to 25. A spokesperson said that there are no plans to close any offices and that the move re-draws the geographic boundaries between several locals.
The national board unanimously voted to approve the following locals: Atlanta, Arizona-Utah, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas-Fort Worth, Hawaii, Houston-Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, Michigan, Missouri-Kansas City-Nebraska, Nashville, Nevada, New England, New Orleans, New Mexico, New York, Ohio Allegheny, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco-Northern California, Seattle, Twin Cities, Washington-Mid Atlantic.
Co-President Roberta Reardon reported all national committee chairs and members have been selected for the commercials contract negotiations and that the “wages and working conditions” process has concluded member meetings.
The commercials contract expires March 31 and covers about $1 billion in annual earnings. The “wages and working conditions” plenary to review and vote on recommended proposals is scheduled to take place on Nov. 17 and 18 in Los Angeles.
Negotiations with the ad industry have been tentatively set for either late January or early Feburary.
Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland reported that the union has distributed $14.59 million in foreign royalties to members with SAG-AFTRA noting that the funds “if uncollected, would have been lost to members forever.”
The union was accused in September in a “demand for accountability” letter by more than a dozen members — including former SAG president Ed Asner — of misconduct in its handling of foreign levies and residuals they are owed. The union has strongly denied the allegations and reiterated its insistence that it has done nothing wrong in how it handled the funds — which began to flow two decades ago as compensation for reuse, such as taxes on video rentals, cable retransmissions and purchases of blank videocassettes and DVDs.
Asner’s letter sought a “full and complete accounting” on foreign royalties and residuals, asserting that more than $100 million is currently held in trust for members.
Contact Dave McNary at email@example.com
A blueprint for destroying the most powerful and prestigious actor’s guild in the world: First, after decades of trying, you get an “amenable” leadership elected. Following this, they sellout their fellow actors by handing over their jurisdiction and jobs to and even more amenable union, then convince actors everything will be “okay” if they just merge with the other union. And then, after selling out actor’s jurisdiction to AFTRA, they raise the cost of co-payments of SAG health insurance on the now struggling actors who are now losing their insurance, homes, etc. because of their “amenable” leaders!
And…what the hell! You producers pour yourself a shot of Hennessy and light up a good Cuban stogie!
Ah, yes, with the current union leadership, it’s good to be a producer!!!
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog