Doug Allen is out, paving the way for new negotiations on a contract with Hollywood studios for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). The moderate majority of the national board of SAG yesterday delivered their written assents to remove National Executive Director Doug Allen and replace him on an interim basis with former SAG General Counsel David White. SAG Senior Advisor John McGuire will replace Allen as Chief Negotiator for the contract talks with the Hollywood studios. Rather than continue to fight, Allen notified SAG staffers that he had acceded to the notification of his dismissal from the union’s General Counsel.
The moderates did not attempt to take any action against SAG President Rosenberg, whose term runs through September. But they blamed him for blocking majority rule at the recent marathon board meeting. “This unprecedented level of obstruction has paralyzed the Guild,” the moderates said of Rosenberg and his supporters. He is still head of the union, but no longer has any control over the contract negotiations, since the new task force working with McGuire will answer directly to the board.
The action to remove Allen by written assent from a majority of the board was not unexpected. However, many observers had expected Rosenberg and Allen to fight the unusual move to invoke the power of the board majority under the union’s constitution.
There’s been no official statement yet from the union announcing Allen’s departure. With Rosenberg and Allen no longer calling the shots, SAG is expected to head back to the bargaining table with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The moderate majority of the SAG board have indicated that they hope to have McGuire negotiate a contract which can be sent to members with a recommendation for ratification. “We have complete confidence in his ability to deliver the best possible contracts for our members,” they said. The moderates now running SAG said they also hope to rebuild relationships with other entertainment unions.
Hollywood attorney Jonathan Handel has further details of the action by the moderate faction in his Digital Media Law blog.