The Screen Actors Guild continues to demonstrate little solidarity among its higher profile factions regarding the upcoming Strike Authorization Vote. Let’s examine all the ongoing developments:
— Tonight’s SAG Town Hall informational meeting in NYC was indeed contentious, if not downright ugly, as SAG National president Alan Rosenberg and executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen faced confrontation from the NY Division, the majority of whom have opposed the pair’s leadership since the beginning.
The NY Division led by Sam Freed called for both Rosenberg and Allen to resign. Alec Baldwin demanded that the current SAG negotiating committee voluntarily step down and allow new people to serve on the panel. And NY Division members sounded off against holding the Strike Authorization Vote and in favor of accepting the AMPTP’s June 30th “last” contract offer as is without further bargaining. “The sense of the meeting was that ‘the deal doesn’t look so bad’. And ‘the economy is terrible right now’. And ‘this is all SAG’s fault because the leaders didn’t merge with AFTRA’,” one attendee told me. “Because ‘New Media isn’t that important right now” and “in three years when all the unions are united we’ll be able to make up what we’ve lost’ on an assumption that IATSE, AFTRA, the DGA, WGA, and SAG ‘can all get together as one’. ”
Said the source about what the majority of the speakers said, “This is such a horrible deal, but everyone else has taken it so we need to take it. And we know the economy will be better in three years.”
— Today, a competing and longer list of star actors urging a “No” vote was released to counter the weekend’s list of star actors urging a “Yes” vote. It should be noted that among those urging SAG members to turn down the Strike Authorization Vote were well-known actors with divided loyalties because they are also producers and directors.
— Doug Allen sends notice to SAG national board responding to the 131 actors, among them many stars, urging a “no” vote on the Strike Authorization ballot — “The AMPTP rhetoric has has the desired effect” — and urges them to attend the next SAG Town Hall in Los Angeles on December 17th.
— Further adding to the divisiveness, SAG’s NY Division issued a public statement Friday demanding that SAG leaders call off the Strike Authorization Vote, hold an emergency National Board meeting, appoint a new national negotiating task force, and demand that the AMPTP return to the bargaining table once all of the above are done. Just one problem: not all members of the SAG NY Division were included in the decision, as independent Eric Bogosian made clear on Friday.
See Angry NY Division Calls For Emergency National Board Meeting.
In addition, the NY Division appears to have violated guild rules by issuing its public statement without first clearing it with the national board as this SAG regulation shows:
— In response to the NY Division’s demand, Rosenberg immediately and surprisingly declared SAG would hold an emergency board meeting.
But he insisted on a face-to-face meeting, something that NY Divisioners said would be a hardship for them as well as unnecessary because of video-conferencing. The next national board meeting isn’t until the end of January. But to constitutionally call a face-to-face board meeting requires a vote by 2/3’s of SAG’s national board. And only the SAG president of executive director can call a video-conferencing national board meeting. The constitution provides for two face-to-face Plenary meetings and two video-conferenced meetings a year.
— However, today Rosenberg abruptly cancelled the emergency board meeting. Here is what he told SAG’s national board in a statement that was supposed to stay confidential. Again, the fact that Rosenberg cannot speak to the board in private anymore shows the deep divisiveness that exists at the top rungs of SAG.