Hard economic times will force the the Screen Actors Guild to lay off a number of employees. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the guild will pinkslip about 35 workers this week, which accounts for 8% of its staff.
When asked to confirm, SAG Spokesperson Pamela Greenwalt told TheWrap, "To close a gap between the Guild’s expected revenue and costs in the upcoming fiscal year budget, SAG is undertaking a number of expense reductions including the elimination of some staff positions. This is a difficult but necessary step that must be taken to responsibly address the fiscal realities confronting our organization."
Greenwalt declined to say how many staffers will be laid off and when.
The guild’s interim national executive director, Dave White, told members of SAG’s national board about the layoffs this weekend. White told the national board on Saturday that the staff reductions are necessary to balance the unions’ $60 million budget, which the board approved Saturday, the Times said.
Causing the problems: a $6.5 million deficit in the guild’s 2009 budget, caused by investment losses and declining membership dues.
Layoffs are expected to occur throughout the guild, including in the organizing department. SAG’s organizing director Todd Amorde resigned earlier this month.
The news of the layoffs comes on the heels of an unusually productive weekend for SAG. The national board approved and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists unanimously approved new contracts covering conditions for the shooting of commercials, worth about $36 million in additional payments.
On Sunday, SAG’s board approved a tentative deal with the AMPTP that will be sent to the membership early next month.