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SAG-AFTRA announces plan to cut 60 jobs

April 21, 2013|By Richard Verrier | This post was updated at 5:50 p.m.
  • Logo for SAG-AFTRA, whose board on Sunday approved a plan to cut 60 jobs from the union.
Logo for SAG-AFTRA, whose board on Sunday approved a plan to cut 60 jobs from…

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing Hollywood actors and other performers, said Sunday it is eliminating 60 positions from the organization as part of plan to balance its budget.

The layoffs, about 10% of the jobs at the union, represent the second wave of layoffs that have occurred at SAG-AFTRA since the two unions voted to merge a year ago in an effort to gain more leverage in contract negotiations. SAG-AFTRA cut about 80 jobs last fall.

The merger created the biggest entertainment union in Hollywood, with more than 165,000 members. Combining two separate organizations, however, created some overlapping positions and departments, and the job cuts were deemed necessary in part to eliminate duplicate jobs.

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The layoffs, which will be concentrated in Los Angeles but also include SAG-AFTRA offices nationwide, are also necessary to reduce costs in the face of an $6-million budget deficit, said sources close to the union who were not authorized to discuss the matter.

SAG-AFTRA's board of directors reviewed the layoffs in a meeting Sunday.

In a statement following the meeting, the board said the $6-million deficit was related to "pre-merger legacy costs of the prior organizations."

The board approved a budget for fiscal 2014 that included restructuring of operations that calls for the consolidation of 10 of the union's 25 offices nationwide, resulting in the 60 job losses, the union said. The staff reductions will begin in early May.

"The moves are designed to position the union for strength and growth in major media markets and emerging production areas, and to ensure that institutional resources are focused on core operational functions and improved member services," the union said in a statement.

In other developments, SAG-AFTRA's national board also approved a new three-year deal covering contracts for actors and other performers who work in television and radio commercials. The agreement includes $238 million in wage increases and other payments, increases in payments for work on the Internet as well as improvements in cable use fees, SAG-AFTRA said.

Negotiators for SAG-AFTRA and a group representing advertisers reached an agreement on new commercials contracts earlier this month after seven weeks of negotiations. SAG-AFTRA Executive David White negotiated the agreement, which is subject to approval by the union's membership.

"This is a great deal for SAG-AFTRA members,'' said Roberta Reardon, national co-president who chaired the the commercials negotiating committee. "We made important gains on these contracts that provide our members with the solid foundation they need to sustain their careers and families."

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