Actors Approve Contract

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood actors have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract that includes a 9.5% pay increase over the next three years for television actors.

The contract was approved by 96.7% of the members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federal of Television and Radio Artists who voted on the deal negotiated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The new contract was tentatively approved in July and submitted to the two guilds’ nearly 135,000 members for a vote. There were 38,163 ballots returned, 29.3% of the total, and only 3.2% of voters rejected the contract and 55 ballots were declared invalid. The secret ballot mail referendum was conducted between July 20 and Aug. 10.

The tentative contract with producers was agreed upon July 3, three days after the previous contract had expired.

“The estimated value of this package is at least $123 million, but with any improvement in the economy at all, it will be worth well beyond that,” said Greg Krizman, a spokesman for the Screen Actors Guild.

Key improvements in the contract include financial increases in basic cable residuals; better pay for major role performers; increases for stunt coordinators and increases in foreign residuals.

The contract also calls for the Fox Entertainment (FOX) network to eventually pay full residual amounts for rebroadcasts, instead of a discount rate for fledgling networks. Fox is part of News Corp. (NWS).

Television actors will gain a 3% raise in minimum payments for the first two years of the contract and a 3.5% increase in the final year.

The new contracts will be in effect through June 30, 2004, and all the minimum rates are retroactive to July 1.

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