SAG, AFTRA Boards to Vote Tomorrow on Contracts

A busy Saturday: Joint boards to vote on TV/theatrical contract, then SAG board to vote separately on basic cable and animation deals.

The primetime television and film agreement recently negotiated by performers' unions and producers is expected to move one step closer this weekend to being a done deal.

Tomorrow, the joint boards of directors of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are scheduled to meet via videoconference to discuss the tentative agreement, which was finalized Nov. 7, and vote it up or down. The new contracts — which are expected to win boardroom approval — would then be sent to the unions' full memberships for ratification.

SAG and AFTRA negotiated their respective TV-theatrical and Exhibit A contracts side by side for the first time in years following a rift in 2008 when AFTRA suspended the unions' joint bargaining agreement to hammer out its own deal with producers. The unions mended fences this year following 2009 SAG national elections that saw moderate union leaders seize power from outspoken critics of AFTRA.

Major points of the three-year deal, which would take effect July 1, include annual 2 percent wage hikes and an increase in employer pension-and-health contributions from 15 percent to 16.5 percent. Also included is a concession from the unions on a rule that previously required actors to be seated in first class on all flights. Under the modified rule, actors traveling fewer than 1,000 miles will fly business class when possible.

Following the joint meeting, the SAG national board of directors is scheduled to meet separately tomorrow to discuss its tentative agreement with producers on new contracts for broadcast and cable animation and basic-cable live-action television. Fundamental elements of that deal, which was finalized Nov. 11, mirror those found in the TV-theatrical agreement.