SAG Issues 2008 Negotiations Report #1: Middle-Income Actors Feeling Squeezed?

SAG leadership sent this to members Tuesday night:

Number 1
April 22, 2008
SAG and the AMPTP have been meeting since negotiations began on April 15. Our proposals address many issues facing today’s middle-income actors. Below is information on this important topic.

Middle-Income Actors…Are You Feeling the Squeeze?
Most middle class actors are. One of our top priorities in our current TV/ Theatrical negotiations is the plight of middle-income actors. We’ve heard it over and over again,…you are not earning the same income that you did several years ago for the same work.

How things look for middle-income actors today
• The average annual TV/Theatrical earnings for middle-income actors is approximately $52,000 a year.
• When actors are employed, their overall compensation is decreasing.
• Inflation adjusted average session earnings are dropping.
• Average inflation adjusted residuals decreased 7% from 2003 to 2007.
• Changes in the broadcast business model mean fewer employment opportunities for actors.
• Fewer network reruns mean less residual payments for actors.
• Realty TV has taken a big bite out of your residuals, and initial compensation for actors.
• Under current contract terms, it takes a day player at least 38 days at scale to qualify for our Pension & Health Plan 1 health insurance.
• Major Role actors (featured, guests stars, etc.) have to work on FIVE half hour shows, with 1 network replay each, to qualify for Plan 1, and seven shows without reruns.

Here’s what we are asking for
1.  Reasonable Increases in minimums for all categories of performers.
2.  Reasonable Increases in Major Role Minimums.
Minimums have become maximums. The overwhelming majority of Major Role actors are not able to negotiate salaries. Their jobs are being offered at Major Role Minimum (“Top of Show”) as a take it or leave it proposition.
3.  Protections and Compensation for Product Integration.
Actors are being forced to incorporate clumsy dialog and action in television series and motion pictures more and more each season. We are seeking reasonable solutions, which include compensation and pre-approval for performing  product integration. This is not the soda can on the table anymore. It’s scripted and is an integral part of the story and plot development.
4.  Increases in Money Breaks.
5.  Improvements in Terms and Conditions for background Actors, Stunt Performers, Dancers and Singers.

Please note that the above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of our proposals. It is just intended to keep you informed of the highlights. We will keep you apprised of developments as the negotiation process continues. Check SAG 24/7 website at

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