Showbizreporting's Blog

June 2, 2009

More Complaining!!!! (Mar. 6, 2009)

We’re writing with an update and to respond to 1st V.P. Anne-Marie Johnson’s email message to the Hollywood membership in yesterday’s “Hollywood Call Sheet”. In her message, she questions why SAG has not asked members to vote on either the contract or a strike authorization in the two weeks since TV/Theatrical talks ended.

Because the TV/Theatrical talks languished for months before recently resuming, our negotiators must now balance SAG’s two biggest contract negotiations. Less than 36 hours after the National Board rejected the AMPTP’s last, best and final offer, Guild negotiators were in New York starting the Commercial contract talks (scheduled a year ago on the assumption that the TV/Theatrical contract would have long since been concluded). Despite this challenge, our negotiators continue to explore options to move the TV/Theatrical contract toward resolution.

Of course SAG leadership retains the right to send out any kind of referendum to members. But Guild members have never been sent a contract the Board didn’t recommend ratifying, much less one it has rejected; this is no time to stray from that precedent. As for a strike authorization ballot, the National Board voted not to send one at its last meeting. While Ms. Johnson’s call for a strike vote may now be emphatic, she and her allies were themselves in a position to send out such a referendum for many months – preceding the start of talks, during them, and after negotiations were at a standstill – but they repeatedly chose not to.

The AMPTP couldn’t know how this newer SAG Board would react to their offer, but the February 21st meeting made it clear: the majority “moderates” voted unanimously to turn the contract down (see the official statement below). As the first round of Commercial talks concludes tomorrow, our negotiators can refocus on the TV/Theatrical contract, determine what impact the Board’s resolve may have had on our employers, and consider how best to move forward.

 

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