SAG-AFTRA Contract Approved
HOLLYWOOD (AP) _ Television and movie actors overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract with producers that raises salaries for most actors and addresses safety issues, a union spokesman said Friday.
Approval of the contract means the new television season will continue undisturbed.
Deadline for ballots was noon Friday, with 87 percent of the voters approving the contract, said Screen Actors Guild spokesman Mark Locher.
Eleven percent voted against the contract, and 2 percent of the mailed ballots were invalidated, he said. Actors returned 28,957 ballots, said Locher.
The contract was negotiated jointly by SAG and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists representing about 92,000 performers, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, an organization representing 114 producers.
Several pay scales were raised 10 percent over the three-year life of the contract. Day performers will get an immediate minimum pay increase from $361 a day to $379 a day, retroactive to July 1. A second increase Jan. 1, 1988, will raise the minimum rate to $398.
Actors and producers decided to set aside the issue of cable television residuals - payments given actors for program reruns - until next year’s Directors Guild negotiations. If changes are made on the issue with that union, actors may re-open talks.
While many actors will receive an increase in minimum pay, the pay scale for television extras was scaled down, and that group lost residual payments.
Actors also received a 10 percent increase in the ceilings on residuals from reruns of network prime time ceilings. Producers tried to reduce such residual payments.
A key compromise that permitted both sides to reach a tentative agreement on Aug. 2 was residuals from videocassettes.
Movie actors were receiving their percentage from the producer’s gross on videocassettes, and wanted to make the percentage based on the distributor’s gross.
But the talks were settled with SAG agreeing to increase the percentage of the producer’s gross from 3.6 percent to 4.5 percent for the first million, and 5.4 percent thereafter. SAG also was given a $3.8 million settlement of past residual claims.
The contract also includes several new rules regarding hiring and safety for minors and stunt people. The rules deal with the issues raised in the current ″Twilight Zone″ involuntary manslaughter trial of director John Landis and four others.
The section on minors declares that producers must tell parents of child actors where a scene will be shot, how long it will take, and if any special abilities, such as stuntwork, are required. It also states a work day for a minor can begin no earlier than 5 a.m. and end no later than 10 p.m.
Actor Vic Morrow, 53, died along with Myca Le, 6, and Renee Chen, 7, in the accident on the set of ″Twilight Zone - The Movie″ on July 23, 1982. A helicopter flying through special-effects explosives crashed on them during filming.
In other contract points, the talent unions took note of the evolution of dialogue in movies and TV, and agreed with producers that the growing number of sounds made by actors instead of speech can not be considered dialogue for which payment is made.
Part of a new rule reads: ″Moans, groans, screams, exclamatory sounds (e.g. ‘ooh,’ ‘aah,’ etc.) and the like shall not be considered words except where scripted and synchronized with an on-camera performer.″