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LOS ANGELES (February 20, 2004) - A joint national board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today strongly endorsed an agreement reached earlier this week with producers for a one-year extension of the current TV/Theatrical contract set to expire on June 30.  By a vote of 79 percent to 21 percent, the joint board approved sending the extension agreement to the full memberships of both unions for ratification, expected during the next 30 days.

"Today, we took another major step towards achieving better wages and conditions for working actors," said SAG President Melissa Gilbert.  "This extension agreement gives our unions unprecedented leverage in negotiations on primetime dramatic programming and sets the stage for an immediate pay raise for our members, stronger health plans, equal status for actors on the WB and UPN and broader coverage for background performers.  We look forward to this agreement being ratified and these key gains becoming a reality for our memberships.  Then, we will turn our attention to preparing for further gains, particularly in the area of residuals, during fall negotiations with producers on a new three-year deal."

AFTRA President John Connolly said:  "Together, our unions have secured several enormous wins for actors.  This extension agreement is just the first of what will be two bites at the apple this year for our unions.  This is just the beginning."

In a separate vote today of 93 percent to seven percent, the joint board reaffirmed its priority issues for fall negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year TV/Theatrical contract.  Those priorities include a more equitable share of DVD revenue and pay TV, made-for-basic cable and other residual structures, as well as increased funding for the unions' pension and health plans, further unification of television agreements and stronger terms for background actors.  No specific date has yet been set for fall negotiations.


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