SAG DUES PLAN REJECTED IN CLOSE MEMBER VOTE
Los Angeles (June 1, 2004) Screen Actors Guild
(SAG) today announced that the dues proposal overwhelmingly endorsed by the National Board this past April has failed by a narrow 51.88% to 48.12% margin in a referendum vote, with 36 percent of eligible SAG members casting ballots. The final tally was certified this evening by Washington state-based Integrity Voting Systems.
“It’s never a popular decision to go to members and ask for more resources,” explained James Cromwell, SAG secretary and treasurer. “But the National Board felt strongly that a strike fund, enhanced member services and an end to deficit spending were worth an extra $30 a year. A strong percentage of the membership agreed. Slightly more did not, and that’s where we are today. The members have spoken. We will find a way to live within our means.”
The dues proposal would have generated an estimated $7.3 million in annual revenues to finance a war chest, replenish the union’s operating fund and aggressively pursue member service programs like completion of an online casting directory and full implementation of a new eligibility system for background actors. The proposal would have increased base dues by a modest $30 per year and increased work dues from 0.85% to 0.95%* for earnings under $200,000 and raised dues on wages from $200,000 to $500,000 from 0.5 % to 1%. Finally, the proposal would have significantly increased new member initiation fees from $1,356 to $2,085.
“We had a divided vote on this referendum, but we remain united at the negotiating table,” said SAG President Melissa Gilbert. “We remain committed to securing real gains on residuals structures,on better coverage for background actors and on improved compensation and benefits. Naturally, we are disappointed we won’t be able to put enhanced services and resources to use for our members. But SAG will remain a strong union. One vote can’t change that.”
SAG’s Chief Financial Officer, Peter Frank, said: “Because we are committed to putting an end to deficit spending, the result of this referendum certainly means that some current services and new programs will be affected. Tough choices will now have to be made about how to achieve a balanced budget.”
*The above piece came verbatim off the SAG Website. The correct numbers should read 1.85% up to 1.95%. Who knows maybe the cutbacks have already began–and Mr. Pisano had to type the damn thing himself.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief