SAG members OK dues increase

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SAG membership has approved the guild's first dues increase since 1999.

Leadership said the boost, approved by a margin of 68% to 32%, was needed to support hiring in key areas, enhancement of internal computer systems and Web site capabilities as well as to build financial reserves. Base dues for SAG membership jump from $100 per year to $116, and the guild's initiation fee will rise from $1,474 to $2,211, effective Feb. 16.

"I commend the membership for their vote of confidence," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said. "By generating a potential $5 million-$7 million a year, we can move forward and expand our organizing and emerging technology departments, conduct critical research and maximize our leverage heading into our contract negotiations in 2008."

The SAG dues increase is similar to one Rosenberg opposed in 2004. But he supported the proposal when reviewed in October by the national board, which approved the increase by a 98% margin.

Ballots went out to membership Jan. 16.

Actors earning less than $200,000 annually will continue to pay 1.85% of earnings, and those making $200,001-$500,000 will continue to pay 0.5% of earnings above $200,000. Actors earning from $500,001-$1 million now will pay 0.25% on that level of earnings.

Also, the guild will raise its earnings cap on income subject to dues from $500,000 to $1 million.

About 27% of SAG's 114,000 members cast ballots on the issue, officials said.

"We are committed to enhancing members services and bettering the lives of all actors," said SAG national executive director Doug Allen, who assumed his post Jan. 8. "Our elected leaders and professional staff will work together to ensure that these new financial resources will help us to achieve our objectives over the coming months and years."

In the same balloting, members also approved constitutional amendments changing election and referendum requirements. About 81% voted in favor of the amendments, officials said.
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