Two More Unions Pass on Bigger Cut of DVD27 Jan, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner
Another talent union has passed on fighting for a bigger cut of DVD residuals. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) this month reached a $200 million agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year television and theatrical contract, but at the price of a new formula for DVD residuals in favor of better health care.
The guilds followed in the tracks of the directors and writers guilds, which gave up the DVD residual fights for the same reason.
Provided that the guilds' boards and members approve the deal, it would head off a potential strike that could virtually shut down movie and TV production.
“We met the expected obstinacy from producers on DVDs and fought the issue until the very end,” SAG president Melissa Gilbert said. “But it would be neither wise nor responsible to pursue our only alternative — shutting the town down — and risk losing the historic gains we achieved.”
AFTRA president John Connolly echoed the sentiment.
“We went at the producers hard on the DVD issue,” he said. “It was an uphill battle from the start, and the next round would have been a lockout or a strike. Under the current formula, DVD revenue to working actors was up 54 percent just over the last three years that have been reported.
“It would be irresponsible to force working actors to put their careers and families on the line through a work stoppage when we were able to negotiate a deal that makes sense for so many working performers.
“We just picked up $200 million without a strike. That's a victory.”
The tentative actors' agreement, approved by the joint negotiating committee Jan. 27, would run from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2008. The guild boards will consider the tentative deal Jan. 29. If approved, it will go to the members as a referendum. But the concessions are not expected to go unopposed, with two warring factions battling for influence at SAG.
“Before the ink is even dry on this deal, opponents will cry out defiantly that we did not fight to the bitter end,” Gilbert said.