SAG-AFTRA Member Earnings Hit Record High; No Decision On Will Smith – Deadline

Despite the pandemic, SAG-AFTRA member’s earnings hit a record high in 2021, even when adjusted for inflation, the union said following its national board meeting on Saturday. The union’s made-for new media, animation, sound recordings and audiobook contracts all set inflation-adjusted records.

“The rebound and growth in number of jobs and overall earnings demonstrates the effectiveness of our return-to-work protocols and the essential nature of our members’ contributions to the success of the media and entertainment industry,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “We are mindful that many of our members have not seen their work opportunities fully return and we continue to focus on getting everyone back to work.”

No decision was made during the board meeting about any potential disciplinary action against Will Smith for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, although a source says that a discussion was had about a change to the union’s disciplinary process so that if multiple members bring charges against someone , only one of those charges would be brought against the member, thus eliminating the need for multiple proceedings on the same issue.

President Fran Drescher, who joined the virtual meeting from Washington, DC, where she was attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, praised the union’s negotiating team for reaching an agreement for a new commercials contract, which is now awaiting ratification by the members. She also updated the board on meetings she’s been having in Washington to advance legislation on a number of bills important to the union’s members, including the American Music Fairness Act, the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act, and the CROWN Act.

Noting that the union celebrated the 10th anniversary of the merger of SAG and AFTRA on March 30, 2012, Drescher told the board that “We are moving in the direction of unity. I feel the energy and I’m proud to be your leader during this auspicious 10th anniversary. We’re going to set a new trajectory, and I only see positivity ahead.” She also reaffirmed her commitment to work with people throughout the industry to implement more environmentally friendly practices.

In their financial report, secretary-treasurer Joely Fisher and chief financial officer Arianna Ozzanto reported that SAG-AFTRA “is in a strong financial position,” with revenue and expenses tracking “better than planned through the third quarter of fiscal year 2022,” and reserves having “grown significantly,” the union said in a statement.

Fisher reported that the union’s $10 million Payroll Protection Plan loan had been forgiven, and the union is seeing an “unprecedented surge in new membership, representing confidence in the union and new income,” the union said. She also announced the formation of the Real Estate Investment Subcommittee, which will explore potential options for accquiring real estate in the Los Angeles area. This could lead to the union buying a new headquarters.

The board also approved the fiscal year 2023 budget, which includes “significant investments in new technology, business innovation projects and increasing staff.” the union said.

AFTRA Retirement Fund CEO Christine Dubois reported that the AFTRA retirement fund – which is separate and apart from the SAG Pension Plan – is in the so-called Green Zone and “is projected to remain there and is performing well.”

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