Narrowly averting a strike, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has signed a tentative deal regarding its basic cable animation contract with broadcast entities including Walt Disney Pictures & Television, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. Formal bargaining is expected to commence this week as both sides work to iron out the 2′-year deal, which reportedly represents a 20% hike in residuals for performers working on cable cartoons.
On Monday, SAG members on the basic cable contract authorized a strike because cable revenues have continued to rise but the actors’ cut has not. Now it appears that animation performers will receive their first residuals percentage bump in 16 years. According to a SAG spokesperson, the increase will be particularly significant because of the high number of reruns typically given to animated shows on basic cable outlets.
‘The performers who work under this contract have waited a long time for these well-deserved gains, particularly in the area of residuals,’ says Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg. ‘Thanks to the hard work of the negotiating committee and staff, and with the support of our membership, we were able to improve this contract, which affects mainly working day performers, for the first time in almost two decades. The Guild achieved this important victory by standing together as a united group of actors.’
Under the new animation deal, residual rates for actors would increase from 12% to 17% of the minimum pay rate, which is currently set at $716 for a four-hour recording session. That percentage would then drop to 1.5% beginning with the 13th rerun. SAG has also negotiated a shift from single-production contracts to an all-inclusive contract for animated basic cable productions.
The new contract will go to SAG’s national board for ratification on April 21-22. Upon approval, the pact will be retroactive to Jan. 1 and run through June 30, 2008, which gives the Guild an opportunity to go back to the bargaining table in just over two years and potentially secure additional gains.