LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Last Tuesday, The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) mailed ballots to its 120,000+ members. The ballots are part of a referendum on whether to increase the performers union dues. The dues, currently $100 a year to $116 has been in place for almost a decade. Also included in the referendum are provisions which would increase the new member initiation fee from $1,1474 to $2,211 and double the ceiling on the percentage of annual earnings that members contribute from $500,000 to $1 Million.
According to the cover letter sent with the ballot, the additional dues will be utilized to more efficiently process residuals and enhance the New Technology department as well as bolstering the underlying fiscal security of the union.
The increase is also indicative of the union strengthening its bargaining positioning for when their present Film/TV contract expires in June 2008. The negotiations are likely to be contentious due to the changing nature of content delivery and the current lack of automation in the way that residual checks are handled by entertainment companies.
Surprisingly, there has been little objection from the union's rank and file. AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and DGA (Directors Guild of America) charge $127.80 and $200 respectively. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers