Title: SAG-AFTRA Faces Legal Roadblocks in Proposal to Amend Union Dues
Leading Hollywood industry union SAG-AFTRA has been grappling with legal hurdles in its attempt to remove caps on union dues, as suggested by A-list actor George Clooney, according to the union’s President, Fran Drescher.
Clooney, along with other prominent actors, met with SAG-AFTRA’s executive director and negotiator to propose a plan aimed at infusing additional funds into the union’s coffers over three years. The goal was to bridge the gap between the union’s demands for the 2023 negotiations and the willingness of studios and streamers to meet those demands.
However, Drescher acknowledged that the proposal is not legally compatible with the union’s contract with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP). Under federal labor laws, only contributions from employers can be directed towards the union’s pension and health funds, making the proposal nonviable.
Discussions between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have also hit a roadblock due to the union’s streaming viewership proposal. The union aims to charge streaming services 57 cents per subscriber to create a fund that benefits members whose work appears on these platforms. While SAG-AFTRA argues that the proposal is essential to mitigate the downward pressure on members’ wages for streaming projects, the AMPTP has labeled it as an “untenable economic burden.”
Drescher emphasized that the union’s experienced negotiators and legal team have thoroughly reviewed the Clooney-led plan regarding residuals, but unfortunately, it was deemed legally insufficient.
As a result of the dispute, discussions have been suspended, primarily due to the concerns surrounding the streaming viewership proposal, which studios argue is illegal.
In response to these developments, SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee released a statement echoing Drescher’s points and making it clear that the union remains unwavering in its support for the streaming compensation proposal. The statement highlights the contributions made by the union towards the growth of the streaming model and emphasizes the need for the union to share in the success it has helped to build.
Despite these challenges, SAG-AFTRA continues to negotiate with the AMPTP, seeking a resolution that will appease its members and ensure their fair compensation in the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry.
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