With the 118-day strike finally resolved and a new collective agreement reached, there is a lot to digest and figure out how things will move forward. With this in mind, Casting Networks produces a series of articles in which we break down particular parts of the new agreement and discuss how it affects you.
One of the primary appeals of being in a union is the integrated health insurance. While the WGA’s health insurance is legendary for its scope and coverage, SAG-AFTRA has always been similarly admired. A lot of union members want to get the job to qualify for health insurance as they would for any other benefits.
Union pension plans and health coverage
Union members earn retirement and health care credits every time they work. The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, the SAG-Producers Pension Plan and the AFTRA Retirement Fund are separate organizations from the union, but points earned through SAG-AFTRA work count toward these entities. Again, this is the benefit of a strong union.
The SAG Pension Plan was first established in 1961, providing a regular pension at age 65 and a subsidized early retirement pension for qualifying participants at age 55. expanded to include people working in the sound recording and other entertainment industries. It first began paying benefits in 1958.
While most of the public face of the negotiations focused on artificial intelligence and how to deal with streaming services, data transparency and residuals, there was still a good deal of conversation about the pension plan and health. AMPTP members must contribute to the fund for both.
With this in mind, and without significant increases in contributions in recent negotiations, the goal was to find a much higher growth this time.
Increases half-hour TV broadcast
The previous ceilings for these contributions were $15,000. That has grown by 67% to $25,000 and is effective the first Sunday after the date that occurred one year after the ratification of the agreement.
It increases the television broadcast of the hour
This contribution has grown almost 50% to $35,000 from $24,500. The effective date is the same as with the half-hour contributions.
SAG Pension Plan vs. AFTRA Pension Fund
The union and the AMPTP have agreed to conduct a joint study to explore mechanisms to reverse the need to shift contributions for certain types of films from the SAG Pension Plan to the AFTRA Retirement Fund.
With the increase in contributions from AMPTP members, there is nothing to worry about that will happen to the retirement plan or the health fund. While some members of the union do not feel that all the issues decided are pure victories for SAG-AFTRA, there have been no complaints about the gains made in this category.
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