SAG to seek strike vote


Efforts by a federal mediator to break the stalemate between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and talks adjourned Saturday without any progress. SAG says it will now seek to have members vote to approve a strike authorization, although there is no determination yet of timing. AMPTP accuses the union of acting “bizarrely.”

No one had really expected federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez to be able to bring the two sides together. SAG has repeatedly insisted on contract terms dealing with Internet and other new media productions that go far beyond what AMPTP agreed to in contracts with all of its other unions – and AMPTP has steadfastly refused to give SAG a better deal than the other unions got.

Despite some election victories by union moderates, the radicals remain in charge and the union is heading toward a possible strike.

“Management continues to insist on terms we cannot responsibly accept on behalf of our members.  As previously authorized by the National Board of Directors, we will now launch a full-scale education campaign in support of a strike authorization referendum.  We will further inform our members about the core, critical issues unique to actors that remain in dispute,” the union said after the mediation talks broke up.

“Let’s review the facts,” said AMPTP after the mediation effort collapsed. “SAG is the only major Hollywood guild that has failed to negotiate a labor deal in 2008.  Now, SAG is bizarrely asking its members to bail out the failed negotiating strategy with a strike vote – at a time of historic economic crisis.  The tone deafness of SAG is stunning.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Absolutely insane. The leadership of SAG must be living in an alternate universe. Are they not aware of the economic situation the world has fallen into? At this point, it’s actually generous of AMTPT to be still willing to give SAG the same terms that other unions negotiated in better economic times.