Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A step in the right direction for both unions and all actors ...

Good news from SAG and AFTRA yesterday that a tentative agreement on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers has been reached. Given the climate under which the current contract was accepted – and the massive disruption that took place in the process – this is, indeed very good news.

The new business of acting is a changing landscape – and it was wise for the negotiators from both unions, working together in a collaborative effort, to take the strategic approach they did entering these talks. Some modest pay hikes and a significant increase in contributions to the unions’ health and pension programs is a big plus in this economy.

More importantly, the AFTRA-SAG teaming in this endeavor speaks volumes about how far both sides have come in mending the fractured relationship that resulted from the last contract go-around in 2008.

Next step is for the agreement to be presented to the joint board of both unions and then for a majority of members of both unions to give it the thumbs up.

Could a true merger be far off? As I discuss in chapter 7 of The New Business of Acting: How to Build a Career in a Changing Landscape, it’s about time. One entity to represent all actors/artists/performers and, yes, even soap stars and newscasters can work if structured with in matrix that includes different divisions that specialize in specific categories of talent. I see it as all very doable and very beneficial to all current union members and to those whose career journeys will eventually lead them to union affiliation.

Tonight I will have an opportunity to discuss this and other issues in the new business of acting at a gathering of AFTRA members in Los Angeles. Good timing.


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