LOS ANGELES, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild voted overwhelmingly to approve a new, three-year contract.
AFTRA, SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a tentative agreement in November on the deal that provides increases in base rates, contributions to the unions' benefits plans, expanded employment opportunities and other improvements for working performers.
Overall, the memberships of SAG and AFTRA voted 93.52 percent to 6.48 percent in favor of the new agreement. Ballots were mailed to 137,437 members of AFTRA and SAG, of which 25.09 percent returned them, the organizations said.
"The success of the referendum is a huge boon for members in terms of pension and healthcare contributions. We have the input of our members and the dedication of our SAG negotiating team to thank for the outcome," Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said in a statement Friday.
AFTRA President Roberta Reardon added: "This ratification is a win for union members and it is a critical victory for our health and retirement plans. I thank the working AFTRA and SAG members who served on the negotiating committee for leading us through to a strong agreement that the memberships of both unions have endorsed and approved."
"The ratification of the new contracts by SAG and AFTRA members is a vote of confidence in the agreements and in our mutual commitment to industry stability. The new agreements reflect the benefits of early negotiations and a willingness on both sides to work through the difficult issues in a constructive manner," AMPTP said in a separate statement.
The new pact goes into effect on July 11 and will remain in force until June 30, 2014.