AMPTP President Nick Counter sent this letter to various local, state and national elected officials in California, New York, Illinois and Michigan regarding the unresolved TV-Theatrical contract. I think Illinois politicians have more pressing issues. And someone should tell St Nick that IATSE has not by any strech of the imagination completed its contract with the AMPTP. Below the letter is SAG’s response:

On behalf of the more than 300 production companies represented in collective bargaining by the AMPTP, we would like to make you aware that during 2008 the AMPTP has successfully negotiated six major labor agreements — with the DGA, the WGA, AFTRA Prime Time, AFTRA Network Code, Casting Directors represented by the Teamsters, and IATSE. These agreements, affecting more than 125,000 Guild and Union members, provide both substantial economic gains in traditional media and first-ever rights in new media. Taken together, these agreements offer a sensible framework that will allow the entire entertainment industry to experiment with new media while ensuring that talent benefits from new media gains.

These six agreements were crafted during extraordinarily difficult times. Our industry is adapting to a rapidly changing new media marketplace at the same time as our entire nation is dealing with one of the greatest economic crises ever.

That is why it is so astounding that just one Hollywood labor organization – Screen Actors Guild – continues to refuse to conclude an agreement. Despite the six other agreements that have already been made, SAG continues to insist on a deal that is better than the deals that our industry’s Unions and Guilds have negotiated. In particular, SAG has rejected the offer that AMPTP made on June 30, 2008, which contained more than $250 million in wage and benefit increases along with groundbreaking new media rights and residuals for actors.

Now, astonishingly, SAG is demanding that working actors attempt to wipe away the consequences of SAG’s failed negotiating strategy by authorizing a strike. This strike vote is remarkable because it comes at a time when prominent economists are saying that the current recession may turn out to be the longest and most painful downturn since the Great Depression.

The strike vote is also remarkable because SAG members are being asked to put themselves out of work over issues that have already been resolved by six other Hollywood Guilds and Unions.

We are mindful of the fact that another industry-wide strike will harm not only those who work in our industry but also the thousands of businesses which support and depend upon the continued vitality of the motion picture and television industries.

We invite you to review the terms of our offer at AMPTP.org.

Sincerely,
J. Nicholas Counter III

Here is SAG’s response to the AMPTP letter to legislators:

“Screen Actors Guild has worked with legislators throughout the country for decades in an effort to protect and improve the rights of creative artists. We appreciate the advocacy and support of municipal, state and federal elected leaders.

Screen Actors Guild represents actors who have different needs than writers, directors and crew members. We are different, not better. Our unique needs require that we negotiate a fair contract specific to actors, background actors and stunt performers, and not simply accept what has been agreed to by our sister unions.

The AMPTP wants us to allow the major studios and networks to produce non union new media projects, with SAG members. Actors have been offered a $22.77 payment for a programs moved from the networks to the Internet, while the writer gets $600 for the exact same thing.

During these challenging economic times, our members rely on us more than ever to protect their rights. We will continue to to work towards achieving a fair contract for the 120,000 members of Screen Actors Guild who live and work in America. “

Pamm Fair
Deputy National Executive Director
Screen Actors Guild