By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

SAG-AFTRA And AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement

SAG-AFTRA REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH AMPTP ON SUCCESSOR CONTRACTS COVERING MOTION PICTURES, TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA

LOS ANGELES (July 4, 2017) — Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) today announced it has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements covering motion pictures, scripted prime-time dramatic television and new media production.

Significant improvements were secured in the residuals rate paid to performers for exhibition of their performances on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Under the new terms, actors will receive residuals for exhibition on subscription video on-demand platforms earlier, now after 90 days instead of after one year. The new formula delivers a 300% increase in residuals to performers within their first two years when their work is exhibited worldwide on Netflix.

SAG-AFTRA achieved a historic breakthrough in the rules governing travel for television performers, including an up to five-fold increase in the fees due to series performers who work at locations away from home. The travel rules for television have been rationalized and clarified, closing many loopholes and ambiguities that have allowed for abuse.

Series performer option rules were greatly improved, with the effect of reducing exclusivity periods for many series performers during which they can be held off the market.

In an unprecedented breakthrough, the new deal improves the overtime provisions for background actors working in the West Coast Zones so that they match New York standards while protecting against the attempted removal of night premiums in the New York Zone. Additionally, the committee improved the pay rate for photo doubles and achieved superior terms for background actors employed under the CW Supplement.

The committee also secured an additional 5% increase in the first year of the contract for stunt coordinators working under flat deal contracts in television.

Additionally, there is a first-year increase of .5 percent in the contribution rate applicable to the SAG Pension Plan and the AFTRA Retirement Fund, bringing the total benefits contribution rate to 17.5 percent. The union may also elect to convert an additional one half of one percent from the wage package in each of the second and third year.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:

  • Total package valued at $256 million over three years
  • 3-year agreement commencing July 1, 2017 and expiring June 30, 2020
  • Wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the third year
  • Half percent increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the SAG Pension Plan and AFTRA Retirement Fund in the first year of the agreement, raising the total contribution rate to 17.5 percent effective July 1, 2017
  • Secured an additional .2 percent increase in funding to the SAG-AFTRA industry cooperative funds, which will support monitoring animal safety on sets, safety training and sexual harassment prevention training
  • Achieved recognition of Middle Eastern North African as a diverse category in the casting data report
  • Agreement to study the design and implementation of an electronic reporting system for performer work times
  • Improved residuals for programming made for SVOD (subscription video-on-demand)
    • First residual is now due in 90 days rather than one year
    • Increase in the residual rate
    • First ever residuals compensation for foreign use
  • Improvements to money and schedule breaks
  • Improvements to the advertiser-supported streaming residuals
  • Outsized increase of 18 percent for background actors working under the CW supplement
  • Terms requiring that all background actors be paid double-time starting after 10 hours of work

SAG-AFTRA President and Negotiating Committee Chair Gabrielle Carteris said, “This is a forward-looking package with meaningful gains across our entire membership. Working with our terrific negotiating committee and staff, we achieved significant improvements in streaming new media compensation. We also established comprehensive travel guidelines to eliminate ambiguity and provide a seasonal fee schedule for location series work.

“Over the last 18 months, I’ve met and talked extensively with members throughout the country. Those conversations, along with our comprehensive Wages and Working Conditions meetings, guided our bargaining strategy and helped build strength and unity. I am grateful to our members for their input and steadfast support which helped us achieve this excellent result.”

I also want to thank my fellow negotiating committee members and staff who worked incredibly hard to secure this deal. They’ve taken time away from their jobs and families to serve the members in these negotiations. I am most thankful to our Chief Negotiator David White for his expertise and dedication on behalf of the members.”

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White said, “This negotiation was a heavy lift. We addressed several critical concerns related to travel pay and option periods as well as improving the residuals structure for streaming new media. We also achieved historic gains for our background community and additional enhancements affecting the general membership.

“I thank President Carteris and the negotiating committee for their hard work in achieving this deal. I also want to recognize my invaluable partnership with Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez, and the many contributions of Senior Adviser John McGuire, Associate National Executive Director Mathis Dunn, National Directors Jennifer Gaudry, Beth Millman and Olga Rodriguez-Aguirre, and the rest of our talented professional staff.”

The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors and ratification by the union’s membership.

Formal negotiations between the 26-member SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Wednesday, May 31, in Los Angeles and concluded at 6 a.m. on July 4, 2017.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook