Hollywood actors will seek higher minimum pay rates and larger contributions to their health and pension plans in contract negotiations with the industry's major TV and movie studios, set to begin this month.
Those are the highlights from a package of bargaining proposals approved Sunday by the joint board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The proposals, culled from weeks of meetings with members of both unions nationwide, will form the framework for contract negotiations with the major studios that are scheduled to start Sept. 27.
The unions, which previously focused on issues surrounding payment in new-media outlets, will shift more attention in the talks to more traditional labor issues. Goals include shoring up the unions' health and pension plans — which have been hit by investment losses during the recession and by rising medical costs — and increasing basic pay levels for journeyman actors.
Although the actors' contracts don't expire until June, the unions opted to begin negotiations early to avoid a standoff like the one that occurred two years ago between the studios and SAG.
SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon will co-chair the negotiations.