So I can tell you what happened to that petition drive for “affected member” voting that was taken up today during SAG’s National Board meeting at the Sheraton Hotel downtown. (For background, see my previous, SAG Natl Board To Consider “Affected Member Voting” This Weekend; Petition Drive Softens Original Proposal.) The issue was heard, the panel deliberated, and the SAG national board voted 60/40 in favor of a motion to refer it to the Guild Government Review Committee “for proper review”, I’m told.
Now an argument has erupted over whether this was the proper way to handle this issue with formal contract talks between SAG and the AMPTP beginning next week.
“Petition leaders were not admitted into the room to speak on behalf of the measure, even though there is clear precedent non-board members addressing such meetings (the FTAC initiative being a recent example),” a pro-petition leader who asked to remain anonymous told me tonight. “President Alan Rosenberg declined direct requests to him earlier this week and he rejected the requests of a number of board members who moved from the floor to hear from us framers of this proposal. So the issue has now been referred to the GGRC in a fashion that guarantees the matter will remain unresolved prior to the ratification vote for the upcoming TV/Theatrical contract.”
But a source on the opposide side of the issue told me, “The issue was heard and the board voted to refer to committee for proper review. Interesting that they are concerned that they did not have an opportunity to address the board and that the matter was referred to a committee since that’s exactly what AFTRA did when they approached them. So the real question is why do they have an ax to grind with SAG? AFTRA took a meeting and formed a taskforce. They did not get a meet with their board either. So why only SAG and why the insistence on doing it now before negotiations? AFTRA sponsored ploy? Employer driven? Who can say. It’s an issue that deserves proper study and review and GGRC is where that is done.”
But the pro-petition source railed against today’s decision: “This course of action runs directly counter to President Rosenberg’s previous statements that the board would resolve the matter prior to the upcoming ratification vote. And we requested a preliminary review from this very committee over a month ago for the exact reason that we did not want to have it referred at this weekend’s plenary. We made this clear to President Rosenberg at the time, but our repeated requests were denied.
“That our proposal has now been referred to ‘the committee where things go to die’ (as one board member called it when relating the news) leads us to believe that there is not a will to address this issue seriously among current Guild leadership. We will obviously get reaction from the 1500+ members who strongly support the proposal, and decide how to proceed based on the response. This much is certain: the effort to give working actors an effective voice in contract decisions will not go away.”
As you know, DHD has been active in this debate by letting actors post their positions pro and con this idea of an earnings threshold for “qualified voting” on the union’s contract issues. Stephen Collins, Amy Brenneman and Ned Vaughn have written in favor while Ron Livingston and Frances Fisher have written in opposition.)