Originally created 01/31/05

Actors unions approve new contract



LOS ANGELES - Representatives of Hollywood's two major actors unions voted Saturday to approve a new three-year contract and recommended that their members adopt the pact.

About 200,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists must now ratify the proposal. Ballots will be mailed Feb. 7 and must be received by Feb. 28.

"We are very proud to have accomplished what we set out to do on behalf of working performers," SAG President Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA President John Connolly said in a joint statement.

The unions reached the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Jan. 20. It includes a 9 percent pay raise over three years, provides more money to shore up health and pension plans, and gives greater protections to stunt actors and extras.

The current contract was set to end June 30.

Actors did not get a larger share of DVD residuals, which unions representing writers and directors had sought unsuccessfully in recent negotiations.

Movie studios are pulling in billions of dollars more in DVD sales than they are at the box office and have closely guarded the profits, saying the revenue covers the rising cost of making films.