The studios’ and networks’ Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made the first statement at 4:30 AM this morning after 6 weeks of negotiating on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract jointly with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Both actor memberships will have to ratify the tentative pact whose announced highlights provide an expectedly small 2% wage increase per year because the emphasis of the talks was placed on increasing the current rate of employer contributions paid with an immediate 1.5% bump to bolster the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds. Friday was the final “official” day of bargaining, which began September 27th, but the two sides continued into the weekend. Analysis coming:

“We are pleased to have successfully reached a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract with the Screen Actors Guild and a new prime time television contract with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The deals offer increases in benefit contributions, wages and other areas critical to working performers while being responsive to the current challenges facing feature film and television producers. The early agreements also ensure that production can continue without disruption for everyone who depends on this industry.”

And this is the joint statement by the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA:

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 7, 2010) — Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) have reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on successor agreements to the Producers-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs, Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting (covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs), and The CW Supplement.

The new three-year agreement is subject to approval by the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, and ratification by the unions’ memberships. The current contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

Highlights of the new tentative agreement include:

· The term of the agreement is 3 years commencing July 1, 2011
· A 6% wage increase over the term of the agreement with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013
· A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds, bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011. This represents the largest dollar value increase to the plans, under these contracts, since the plans were founded and is the largest percentage increase to the plans in more than two decades
· Two additional background positions in theatrical and one additional background position in television in the Western Zones
· An expansion of major role provisions to apply to new pay television series commencing in their second season
· Expanded union coverage over made for new media productions
· Increases in the area of money and schedule breaks
· Improved contract language to increase equal employment opportunities for union performers.

The unions also agreed to modifications in the travel provisions of the contracts.

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard, said, “Strengthening the Pension and Health Plans was our top priority in these negotiations – making such a significant gain in that area was a vital achievement. Increased wages across the contract and the expansion of the major role premium into pay television will not only put more money in performers’ pockets, but will provide yet another boost to our P&H funds. I’m grateful to have worked closely with AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and want to give special thanks to SAG Chief Negotiator David White and his bargaining team. All the staff and members of this joint committee, from both unions, deserve praise for their focus and dedication. We had to make some difficult decisions, but working together, we’ve reached a deal that will protect our essential pension and health benefits for years to come.”

AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said, “I am extremely pleased we met our goal of increasing contributions to our retirement and pension plans, and that we successfully completed this negotiation now to protect the needs of performers early in the process. I applaud AFTRA Chief Negotiator Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, and I thank Screen Actors Guild Co-Chair President Howard for his strong and supportive leadership. Our joint negotiating committee worked together seamlessly and in solidarity, and I am very proud of their work.”

Details of the new agreement will be submitted for approval to the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. Upon approval, the pact will be sent out for joint ratification by the unions’ memberships.

Representatives of the following organizations attended one or more of the negotiating sessions as observers: Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Brotherhood of Teamsters,(IBT), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Formal negotiations between the 26-member Joint Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA Negotiating Committee and the AMPTP began on Monday, Sept. 27, in Los Angeles. Talks were preceded by months of joint wages and working conditions meetings held this past summer.

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