Almost daily now, growing numbers of SAG actors, especially those with well-known names, are taking sides on the Strike Authorization Vote issue. But I don’t have the patience over the next few weeks to keep constantly calculating the star power of both the “Yes” or “No” solidarity signers. Especially when you can do it for yourself:
The “No” side can be monitored at http://www.nosagstrike.com/ by seeing who’s put their name to Danny DeVito’s and Rhea Perlman’s original letter to Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg “voicing clear solidarity to the principles of union [but also laying] out the reasons they believe now is not the time for SAG to pursue a strike authorization”. What was once the signatures of over 130 “highly accomplished and respected members” have now grown to 900 SAG members. High profile actors Russell Crowe, Michael Chiklis, Hilary Duff, Alyssa Milano, Julianne Moore, Robert Redford and Seann William Scott and others have joined George Clooney, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Pierce Brosnan, Alec Baldwin, and Josh Brolin in signing this missive to SAG Board members saying:
“We feel very strongly that SAG members should not vote to authorize a strike at this time. We don’t think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool. It must be looked at as what it is — agreement to strike if negotiations fail.
We support our union and we support the issues we’re fighting for, but we do not believe in all good conscience that now is the time to be putting people out of work.
None of our friends in the other unions are truly happy with the deals they made in their negotiations. Three years from now all the union contracts will be up again at roughly the same time. At that point if we plan and work together with our sister unions we will have incredible leverage.
As hard as it may be to wait those three years under an imperfect agreement, we believe this is what we must do. We think that a public statement should be made by SAG recognizing that although this is not a deal we want, it is simply not a time when our union wants to have any part in creating more economic hardship while so many people are already suffering.
Let’s take the high road. Let’s unite with our brothers and sisters in the entertainment community and prepare for the future, three years down the line. Then, together, let’s make a great deal.”
The “Yes” side can be monitored at http://www.sag.org/solidarity-list where now 2,300+ SAG members have signed the guild leadership’s solidarity statement. Newcomers like Laura Dern, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jeremy Sisto, Matthew Modine, Sharon Gless, Mo Gaffney, and Eric Bogosian have joined Sandra Oh, Mel Gibson, Diane Ladd, Holly Hunter, Jerry O’Connell, and Rob Morrow saying:
“I support the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors request for members to vote YES to empower the National Board to decide whether to call a TV/Theatrical contract strike, and if so, determine its timeframe. We must arm our negotiating committee with the collective unity and strength of the Screen Actors Guild Members.”
In addition to the dueling websites and celeb lists, both sides will soon have dueling videos. SAG leaders have gotten out first on its website and at http://www.youtube.com/user/EmpowerSagVoteYes with new videos featuring Alicia Witt and Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen joining those byo Clancy Brown, Charles Shaugnessy, and Justine Bateman.
But the real dilemma for me (and should be for everyone else) is how to weight both lists: By numbers? By TMZ heat? By generational mix? By movie stars over TV regulars? By actors over actor-producers or actor-directors or even actor-producer-directors? Your guess is as good as mine. But each SAG member has an equal vote.