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Preparations underway for SAG membership vote on tentative deal

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After months of on again /off again talks and tons of haggling and sniping, the members of the Screen Actors Guild will soon get the opportunity to vote on a contract deal. Yesterday, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors approved a tentative agreement with the Big Studio producers by a narrow 53 to 47 vote.

SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers jointly announced the tentative deal on Friday, but details were not released until yesterday. The two-year contract expires in June of 2011, keeping SAG in sync with the WGA, DGA, and AFTRA contracts, therefore, giving the unions more power in the next round of negotiations. Even though the deal includes a 3.5% annual raise in minimums, the pay structure for some Internet work is the same as what the producers gave the WGA, AFTRA, and DGA. The hardliners had fought for months to get the new media part of their contract sweetened.  

In the statement posted on the SAG website, SAG National President and supporter of the hardliners said: “I urge members to carefully review both the pros and cons in the referendum materials, and exercise their right to vote.”

Interim National Executive Director David White said: “We are pleased that Screen Actors Guild members will soon be voting on a deal for television and motion pictures. We’re eager to get our members back to work and to focus now on the challenges ahead, particularly on initiating a comprehensive effort to thoughtfully plan for the future.”  White replaced Doug Allen, a tough negotiator, who was fired by the guild on January 26, 2009. Also, Allen’s position as chief negotiator was taken over by John McGuire.

The ratification ballots are set to go out to the rank and file early next month. There are around 120,000 members of SAG.

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