Agenda for the SAG-AFTRA Merger Effort

Digital Media Law

There's a strong case for merging SAG and AFTRA but there are numerous hurdles to overcome as well. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. What are some of the key issues? See my piece in The Hollywood Reporter for details. _. Check out my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” available at https://www.createspace.com/3344392 (use limited-time code JL886NCV for 20% off) and due out on Amazon this month.

AFTRA, Networks Reach New Three Year Deal

Digital Media Law

AFTRA and the television networks reached agreement on a new three-year contract today, with the new pact featuring now-standard 2% annual wage increases and an unusually large 1% increase in employer contributions to health and retirement. An AFTRA statement confirmed the issues’ importance, calling the 1% increase the union’s “primary objective” in the bargaining. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles.

SAG/AFTRA Members: Will your dues go up or down? Now you can tell.

Digital Media Law

There's been a lot of discussion about how dues will change if SAG and AFTRA merge, but no one's made it easy for you to know exactly what will happen to your own. Whether you're SAG-only or a dual cardholder (or if you're AFTRA-only or even a broadcaster), the graph will show you exactly what will happen to your dues if merger passes. _. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles.

Health and Retirement are the Hangup in AFTRA Netcode Negotiations (Exclusive)

Digital Media Law

AFTRA’s negotiations with the networks and television producers resume this week and the big issue, according to a source close to the process, is the same one that’s bedeviled Hollywood labor for the past several years: health and retirement. The contract under negotiation – AFTRA’s Network Code, colloquially referred to as the “front of book” – is the union’s largest, and generates more than $250 million a year in member earnings.

AFTRA Retirement Board Sues JP Morgan Chase

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. The retirement plan is said to have lost $2-3 million because of an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the bank.

SAG National Board Unanimously Moves Towards Merger with AFTRA

Digital Media Law

After at least two failed attempts, decades of discussion, recent year marked by acrimony and then reconciliation, the game is once again afoot, as Holmes would say: SAG and AFTRA are moving decisively closer to merger. The move today was SAG’s, whose national board has now unanimously established a merger taskforce to work with AFTRA to develop “a formal plan to unite SAG and AFTRA members in one union,” in the words of a SAG statement.

SAG, AFTRA Give Up First-Class Travel

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Actors will be flying business class and sometimes coach as part of the unions' new deal with the studios. Details in my THR piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too.

SAG/AFTRA Negotiations Almost Unraveled at 'Perilous Moments'

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. An exclusive look inside the bargaining room of last Sunday's deal that insiders say went right down to the wire. Details in my Hollywood Reporter piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too.

SAG/AFTRA Deadline Passes Without Deal With AMPTP

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Negotiations continue into the weekend and possibly beyond. Details in my THR piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

Pilots Overwhelmingly AFTRA Again

Digital Media Law

About 60 pilots for scripted network primetime programs will be shot under AFTRA contracts this year, while few – or perhaps none – will be produced under SAG jurisdiction, according to sources close to the two unions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. This continues a trend that began last year, when roughly 90% of pilots (and 83% of pilot pickups ) went AFTRA. So, AFTRA’s reach is growing in network primetime scripted programming.

AFTRA Investigation Finds No Misconduct by Board Member Over SAGWatch Site

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. The union's outside counsel determines that David Browde did not violate non-disparagement or confidentiality rules and is not an owner or editor of the site. Details: The Hollywood Reporter. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law.

AFTRA employees sign new pact

Digital Media Law

Details: my Hollywood Reporter article. ——————— Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Tags: Labor Unions AFTRA due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

SAG-AFTRA Commercials Update

Digital Media Law

Small moves by each side, but movement nonetheless, characterizes the ongoing commercials contract negotiations being held in New York between SAG and AFTRA jointly and the advertising industry, according to a source close to the talks. A welcome bit of news: the source said that SAG and AFTRA are working well together, with no evidence of factionalism. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles.

It’s a Play! It’s Live Internet TV! It’s Both, and it Opens in Los Angeles on Friday

Digital Media Law

Seemingly, the solution adopted by Heretick’s artistic director Jennifer Cotteleer is simple: the production went with a SAG-AFTRA new media contract rather than an Equity agreement. Visit my website ( jhandel.com ), follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

SAG-AFTRA Joint Bargaining: AFTRA Hesitates, Slightly; and More

Digital Media Law

An AFTRA committee, expected to recommend joint bargaining with SAG, instead referred the matter to a subcommittee, the Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap reported. Curious about details, I contacted a source close to AFTRA. SAG and AFTRA declined to comment.) The committee that met yesterday is, in fact, AFTRA’s Strategy Cabinet, a key, 25-member committee that advises the AFTRA National Board on important matters. Tags: Phase I AFTRA Actors' Equity

AFTRA Board Approves Joint Bargaining With SAG

Digital Media Law

At a videoconference meeting today in New York and LA, AFTRA’s national board unanimously voted to approve joint bargaining with SAG for the Primetime Television Contract and the SAG TV/theatrical contract. The move comes a month after SAG’s national board voted, by a tally of 82% to 18%, to “seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract.” Tags: Phase I AFTRA AMPTP SAG

DGA to Negotiate on SAG & AFTRA's Heels

Digital Media Law

The Directors Guild announced on its website today that it will begin negotiations with the AMPTP (studio alliance) in mid-November, which is immediately after the scheduled end of 45 days of negotiation between the AMPTP and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) & AFTRA (a smaller performers union). The DGA contract (like those of SAG, AFTRA and the WGA) expires in mid-2011, but the DGA always negotiates early. Hopefully, SAG, AFTRA and the DGA will coordinate their proposals.

SAG-AFTRA Ad Deal Done

Digital Media Law

SAG and AFTRA jointly reached a deal late last night with the advertising industry, retaining the current lucrative compensation structure for broadcast network commercials, and largely resisting the industry’s attempt to reduce pension and health contributions. The joint SAG-AFTRA press release is below. increase in the employer contribution rate to the AFTRA H&R and SAG P&H plans bringing the total contribution rate to 15.3%. Score one for labor.

Pilot Season 94% AFTRA

Digital Media Law

66 out of 70 TV pilots this year will be shot under AFTRA jurisdiction, reports the Hollywood Reporter today. That’s 94% for AFTRA and only 6% for SAG. Meanwhile, I’ve been told somewhat different numbers that calculate out to about 87% AFTRA. Either way, it’s a 180 from typical figures, as I’m told that AFTRA typically has 10% or fewer pilots. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles.

SAG Moves towards Joint Bargaining with AFTRA

Digital Media Law

The SAG National Board yesterday passed a resolution, by a surprising 82% to 18% vote, directing the guild’s president and National Executive Director to “seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract,” as quoted in a SAG press release. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. Tags: Phase I AFTRA SAG

TV Series Pickups Favor AFTRA 5 to 1

Digital Media Law

Several months ago, we learned that pilot season this year was 94% AFTRA (or 87% by some calculations), a complete 180 from its usual 90% SAG. The AP is reporting that 25 out of 30 shows picked up by broadcast networks this spring were AFTRA and just five were SAG. That’s about 83% AFTRA to 17% SAG—not much better for SAG than the pilot numbers. In contrast, last year’s figures, according to the AP, were 3 AFTRA and 19 SAG, i.e., 14% AFTRA and 86% SAG.

SAG/AFTRA Merger Details Hinted

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. SAG may seek to merge the unions prior to the pension and health plans; completion in 2011 may be the SAG goal. Details in my Hollywood Reporter piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too.

Three Membership First Candidates Elected to AFTRA Boards

Digital Media Law

The AFTRA Los Angeles results are in. Many candidates were reelected, but new winners include two Membership First leaders—SAG 1 st VP Anne-Marie Johnson (AFTRA national board) and former SAG Hollywood Board member David Jolliffe (AFTRA Los Angeles local board)—as well as Membership First member Alan Ruck (AFTRA national board). I believe they join several MF stalwarts already on one or the other AFTRA boards.

SAG, AFTRA Meet About Merger

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Read it in The Hollywood Reporter. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

SAG-AFTRA Joint Board Approves Studio Deal

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. A ballot referendum recommending ratification will soon go out to members, for return by mid-January. Details: The Hollywood Reporter. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too.

AFTRA Endorses IATSE 'Biggest Loser' Organizing Campaign

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. The union issued an unequivocal statement of support. Details in my Hollywood Reporter piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

SAG/AFTRA and DGA Schedule Details Emerge

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Timing of ballots and negotiations disclosed. Details in my Hollywood Reporter piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

WGA, AMPTP Reach New Three-Year Deal

Digital Media Law

The tentative pact, which is in line with deals reached by SAG, AFTRA and the DGA, provides for 2% annual wage increases but also keeps network primetime residuals at current rates. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Details: The Hollywood Reporter. _. Check out my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” available on Amazon (also in a Kindle edition).

AMPTP 22

WGA, IATSE Weigh in on SAG/AFTRA Deal

Digital Media Law

Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Forbes.com or Huffington Post articles. Writers and crew unions join DGA in congratulating the actors on their tentative agreement. Details in my THR piece. -. Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email.

DGA 2

SAG-AFTRA Ratify Advertising Agreement; SAG Townhall Features Fireworks

Digital Media Law

SAG and AFTRA announced yesterday that their combined paid-up membership, about 132,000 members, overwhelmingly ratified the contracts between the unions and the advertising industry. The key difference is the contract expiration date, which in the current deal is synchronized with the WGA, AFTRA and DGA (mid-2011). He pointed to the importance of consolidating gains and negotiating in solidarity with other unions, especially AFTRA, in 2011.

Hollywood Labor: SAG Source Says a Strike Unlikely, Joint SAG-AFTRA Bargaining Likely; and the Year Ahead

Digital Media Law

The source also said SAG’s upcoming January 31 national board meeting will probably feature a move towards resurrecting joint bargaining with AFTRA, adding that he/she was confident that bargaining later this year would indeed be jointly conducted. If the board does act on January 31, look for AFTRA’s board to respond at its February 27 meeting. Indeed, Howard has already had informal contacts with AFTRA president Roberta Reardon, as Back Stage has reported.)

SAG Hardliners: The Trojan Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Digital Media Law

SAG’s Hollywood branch, dominated by the hardline Membership First faction, has passed a motion forming a task force to explore “acquisition of actors of AFTRA,” reports SAGWatch. The purpose of the awkwardly-phrased motion is evidently to eliminate AFTRA’s jurisdiction over television acting (long a stated goal of MF), leaving it with only broadcasters (newscasters, weather reporters, etc.), Tags: strike Labor Unions AFTRA Membership First SAG

Basic Cable Clarification & Details

Digital Media Law

In yesterday’s post regarding the schedule for this cycle’s negotiations, I said that SAG and AFTRA would be jointly negotiating basic cable starting on November 7. Sources close to AFTRA and SAG have corrected me on this—and provided more details. As part of the Basic Cable Live Action agenda item, the SAG National Board voted to explore the possibility of coordinated bargaining with AFTRA in the area of live action basic cable programming.

SAG Commercials Negotiations Process Advances

Digital Media Law

The SAG-AFTRA commercials contract seems to be suffering little of the turbulence afflicting the long-expired SAG TV/theatrical contract. The SAG and AFTRA Commercials Contracts will be bargained under the terms of the Phase One Agreement that applies to the Commercials Contracts negotiations only. Or, follow me on Twitter , friend me on Facebook , or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. Tags: SAG Commercials AFTRA

A “New” Entertainment Union - And a Possible Name

Digital Media Law

AFTRA is interested in merger with the Screen Actors Guild, but not if the effort is going to fail again. So we learn from an article appearing in the just-mailed Spring 2010 issue of AFTRA Magazine. SAG reacted favorably, with guild president Ken Howard remarking in an email to me, “I’m delighted to see AFTRA’s leadership speak out forcefully about something that I and other SAG leaders so strongly support. Tags: AFTRA SAG

Hollywood Labor: The Tyranny of Time

Digital Media Law

So with the SAG-AFTRA negotiations upon us, let’s look at what the 2010-2011 bargaining cycle has in store. SAG and AFTRA The SAG and AFTRA negotiations with the AMPTP (studio alliance) begin on Monday the 27 th , less than a week away. They’ll focus on the SAG Codified basic Agreement (which covers film and television), SAG Television Agreement (a supplement which adds more detail regarding television), and AFTRA’s Exhibit A (which covers primetime scripted television).

DGA 2

SAG Stalemate Update

Digital Media Law

What is known is that the SAG and AFTRA boards will spend part of the weekend meeting jointly to review the proposed commercials contract , a deal reached earlier this month between the two unions and the ad industry. Speaking of Johnson and Jolliffe, they are two of the several dozen candidates in the upcoming AFTRA national and LA board elections. MF candidates in the upcoming AFTRA elections, in addition to Johnson and Jolliffe, include Steven Barr and David Clennon.

No More Sounds of Silence on the Music Composition Front?

Digital Media Law

In other audible union news, AFTRA recently approved its interactive (i.e., Despite concerns with some aspects of the contract, that's unfortunate for SAG, because I'm told this sector is only about 25% unionized (AFTRA numbers + SAG's). That means that video game companies can easily move over to AFTRA - or go nonunion. The hard reality is that neither SAG nor AFTRA control the labor supply in this area, leaving them little leverage in negotiations.

April 18: Moral Rights Symposium at U.S. Copyright Office/George Mason Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property

Music Technology Policy

These are recognized in the Berne Convention (Article 6bis for those reading along). This is largely thanks to years of collective bargaining with guilds such as the Writers Guild, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild as anyone who has been to a Writers Guild credit arbitration can attest.

Is SAG Becoming Irrelevant?

Digital Media Law

The resulting 2012 expiration date means that SAG would not be able to threaten a joint strike in 2011 with the WGA (let alone AFTRA) when those unions’ contracts expire. The studio proposal would allow SAG to synchronize its expiration with AFTRA’s 2011 date, but only if the two unions jointly negotiate and ratify a deal at that time without a strike.) Also in the news is a stunning report from the Hollywood Reporter that this year’s pilot season will be more than two-thirds AFTRA.