In a recent development, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher has stated that the proposal made by George Clooney and other A-list actors to lift the cap on union dues is not legally compatible with the union’s contract. In a video posted to Instagram, Drescher thanked Clooney and others for their generous offer but explained that the proposal “does not impact the contract that we’re striking over whatsoever.”
Drescher clarified that as a federally regulated labor union, the only contributions that can go into the union’s pension and health funds must come from the employer. Therefore, the benefits that the union is fighting for must remain within the confines of the contract. Additionally, Drescher addressed the suggestion of a residual system for lower-income members, stating that the union’s contract staff negotiators and lawyers have determined that this proposal also “doesn’t hold water.”
The union and its negotiating committee are still waiting for the CEOs to return to the table to continue talks and reach a resolution to the ongoing strike.
In a groundbreaking move to end the ongoing actors’ strike that has stretched beyond 100 days, Hollywood’s biggest stars have offered to contribute $150 million over three years in dues to support the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). This proposal was laid out during a Tuesday Zoom call with SAG-AFTRA leaders and aims to eliminate the cap on membership dues, which is currently set at $1 million. The funds raised from this initiative will be used to bolster health benefits and other areas that SAG-AFTRA is seeking to improve.
The stars involved in this proposal include George Clooney, Emma Stone, Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry, and Scarlett Johansson, who met with SAG leaders Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland to discuss the plan. George Clooney confirmed the proposal in a conversation with Deadline, stating, “A lot of the top earners want to be part of the solution. We’ve offered to remove the cap on dues, which would bring over $50 million to the union annually, well over $150 million over the next three years. We think it’s fair for us to pay more into the union.”
In addition to removing the cap on membership dues, the stars have also proposed a residual system for streaming that would prioritize payment to the lowest names on the call sheet who are most in need of the money. This bottom-up residual structure would mean that the top earners would be the last to collect residuals, rather than the first.
The SAG-AFTRA leaders have brought this offer to their negotiating committee, and negotiations are expected to be ongoing. The studios and SAG-AFTRA negotiators have been at odds, with studios walking away from the bargaining table. This has left below-the-line workers struggling to make ends meet, especially in the wake of the Writers Guild of America strike.
This move by Hollywood’s biggest stars is seen by many as a significant step towards resolving the strike and supporting the acting community. It demonstrates a willingness to contribute financially to the cause and to find solutions that prioritize the needs of those who are struggling the most. As the negotiations continue, it will be interesting to see how this proposal impacts the outcome of the strike and the future of the industry.
For more information, you can read the full article on Deadline here.
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