SAG-AFTRA to Begin Contract Talks With Producers on May 5

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Ken Howard

The union made the announcement Sunday after its national board meeting.

The SAG-AFTRA National Board, meeting this weekend in a face-to-face plenary in Los Angeles, unanimously approved proposals for the upcoming TV/Theatrical negotiations, the union announced Sunday. As per custom and practice, the proposal package is confidential and will not be released.

SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard will chair the negotiations and national executive director David White is the union’s chief negotiator. Negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are scheduled to begin on May 5 at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The current contract expires June 30.

The approval of the package follows the April 5 meeting of the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Contracts Wages & Working Conditions Plenary Committee, in which the committee approved the proposal negotiation package for presentation to the national board. Howard served as the national chair for the W&W committee.

The W&W process began in January and gave members in every local in the country the opportunity to discuss the contracts and suggest potential provisions. W&W is the union’s process for union representatives and the committee to determine priorities when negotiating.

The board also approved the proposal packages for the 2014 Television Animation agreement, the Basic Cable Live Action agreement and Basic Cable Television Animation agreement. Those packages, too, are confidential and will not be released, the union said. Howard will chair the Basic Cable negotiating committee and White is chief negotiator.

In other Contracts Department business, the national board approved the negotiating committee and wages and working conditions process for the 2014 Interactive contract negotiations. The proposals are not released and a date for negotiations has not yet been set.

Chief operating officer and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland reported to the Board regarding Executive Committee actions, including the approval of the committee for the Sound Recordings code negotiations and the approval of the proposal package for the negotiations. Assistant national executive director of sound recordings Randy Himes is lead negotiator for the contract. The members of the committee are not released. Negotiations will commence in late April.

White provided the board with an update on several operational matters including an update on residuals processing times, a matter first reported exclusively by The Hollywood Reporter. Through recent process and workflow improvements, SAG-AFTRA has slashed residuals processing times from over 90 days to under 30 days. White praised the work of chief information officer Daniel Inukai, chief finance officer Arianna Ozzanto, national director of finance & strategy Barbara Tiomico, director of residuals processing Valery Kotik and their staff for their work in improving the processing times.

“This is a terrific result and the board gave a rousing and appropriate ovation for our staff whose innovation has paid tremendous dividends for all members,” said White. “We’ve substantially improved our performance in this area and we will continue to find ways to improve our process while focusing our attention on other operational challenges.”

The increased processing speed comes at a time when average residuals check volume has grown significantly, from 2.9 million checks in 2012 to 3.5 million checks in 2013.

Secretary-treasurer Amy Aquino and Ozzanto reported on the results of the third quarter. Expenses are tracking to plan, while revenue is higher than anticipated. The union will close the fiscal year with a budget surplus. The surplus funds will be used to increase the union’s financial reserves.

The fiscal year 2015 budget was approved. The anticipated operating result for 2015 is also expected to yield a budget surplus.

In other action, the National Board unanimously appointed Atlanta Local first vp Mike Pniewski as a trustee to the SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plans and reviewed and voted on routine governance and administrative matters.

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