frances1.JPGThis comes to me from actor Frances Fisher who sits on the Screen Actors Guild National Board. Already opining have been thesps Amy Brenneman (pro), Ron Livingston (anti), and Ned Vaughn (pro) about the SAG petition drive lobbying for an earnings threshold requirement for “qualified voting” on SAG contract issues:

“I find it interesting that this issue is being ressurected publicly at a time that our Guild members should be united as we prepare for our TV/Theatrical negotiations.

“What about Aftra? How come there is no push to qualify Aftra members ‘affected’ by the upcoming TV/Theatrical contract? Could it be that Aftra doesn’t have a dog in the hunt?

“I find it quite interesting that Aftra does less than 10% of the TV/Theatrical contract, and that nobody is holding them to the same standards. .

“According to Phase 1, the joint bargaining agreement between SAG and Aftra, the negotiating committee is seated 50-50. That means Aftra votes on this contract, (and does NO film, has three Primetime TV contracts,) yet they have a 50% say in how the negotiations go. How “affected” are they? Do you think weathermen and sportscasters and game show hosts and newscasters give a rat’s ass about TV/Theatrical when they get their ballot?

“Why aren’t these SAG petition signers up in arms about that?

“We are in serious W&W meetings through the rest of this month. I urge our members to come to the Guild at 5757 Wilshire Blvd., and participate in our deliberations.

“Yes, I hear you now. Many of us are dual card holders; but Aftra as an institution does not do the work in the TV/Theatrical contract. Excuse me; they do less than 10%.

“If these petition signers are truly intersted in getting a fair contract — and as my friend Amy Brenneman says, ‘How hard will they fight to get actors a better deal?’ I ask you this: How hard will the Aftra portion of the negotiating committee fight, since they only bring in less than 10% of the earnings? And will the weathermen, etc…vote for what actors need?

“I agree that Vanity Card holders should be looked at: (people who hold a card but do not work the contract at all). I submit that we must look at our own SAG Board of Directors, and hold them to the same standards. We have people on our board who have no credits on IMDB; should they be making policy for our Guild with regard to TV/Theatrical?

“And to the person who took a stab at Hollywood: look up the credits of our Hollywood Board, and see who represents you: working actors like Kent McCord, Anne Marie Johnson, Valerie Harper, Rene Taylor, Joe Bologna, Lainie Kazan, France Nuyen, Diane Ladd, Justine Bateman, William Russ, Joanna Cassidy, Anne DeSalvo, George Coe, Michael Bell, Seymour Cassel, Brett Cullen, Anthony DeSantis, Leigh French, Elliot Gould, Robert Hays, David Jolliffe, Nancy Sinatra, Piper Laurie, Paul Napier, William Mapother, Russell McConnell, Peggy Miley, Esai Morales, Barbara Niven, Susan Savage, Connie Stevens, JoBeth Williams, Angel Tompkins, William Mapother, William Katt, Bonnie Bartlett, Scott Wilson, me, and the list goes on. Check out our credits on www.imdb.com.

“I submit that any member of Screen Actors Guild, because they are actors, and are seeking work, be allowed to vote on any and all contracts, because they may get a contract at any time that flips them into getting a leg-up.

“Would you disqualify Gloria Stuart, who is basically a founding member of our Guild, who did not work for decades, and who got a job in Titanic in her 80’s and subsequently was nominated for an Academy Award, and won a SAG Award?

“And don’t get me started on the Basic-Cable contracts…

“Hi didely dee, the actors’ life for me.”