I don’t see why the SAG National Majority and their pals, the Big Media labor lawyers, are needing to waste more than an hour in talks since all they’re doing is Xeroxing AFTRA’s TV/Theatrical Contract. These past two days have consisted of nothing more than playing at negotiations. Sure, feature players will be thrown a few bones regarding French hours and force majeure and other stuff the AMPTP was going to back off anyway. Heck, the plan by the AMPTP all along was to make a big show of only giving in to the so-called “moderates” once they came into power in order to make them look all that much better compared to the “militants”? Nice to know that the SAG National Majority is following the AMPTP’s script to perfection. So color me unimpressed when this deal is reached lickety split. And the heavy-lifting residuals issues really necessary to the continued financial security of SAG and its members will be left off the table.
Funny, but getting no publicity is the fact that SAG Interim NED David White back before Presidents Day scheduled with no prior notice a Special Meeting of the SAG National Board for this uber-busy Hollywood awards weekend. And the plenary doesn’t have an agenda. Now, maybe White merely wants to pin down his own compensation package which never got to a vote. Or maybe this special National Board meeting for Saturday is intended to get approval for the TV/Theatrical Contract which even the SAG National Majority knew was just a formality. Get it, guys? White scheduled the plenary before this week’s AMPTP negotiations with SAG’s new TV/Theatrical Contract task force even began. I understand that Hollywood Division’s Membership First board members learned about the calling of this Saturday special meeting by accident. And they think the timing of it during the most event-packed Hollywood weekend all year is deliberate. Because if Membership First board members can’t get together its full contingent, then the SAG National Majority could amass a 2/3’s majority to do almost anything it wants to.
But I still don’t understand how the SAG National Majority is planning to get its newly negotiated TV/Theatrical Contract ratified by the membership. My guess is either the SAG National Majority concocts a legal strategy to circumvent the SAG constitution and approves a motion that this contract can only be voted on by “affected members”. And what then would the standards for that so as to disenfranchise tens of thousands of SAG members? (Since the folks behind Unite For Strength came together in the first place to push through affected member voting and would be breaking their campaign promise not to pursue it.) Or else the SAG National Majority takes a page from AFTRA and convinces members in an underhanded (mis)education campaign that a “Yes” vote ratifies the contract and a “No” vote doesn’t just send the pact back to the negotiators for a try at better terms but supposedly authorizes the SAG board to call a strike. That would be blatant bullshit because a “no” vote on the contract has nothing to do with a Strike Authorization Vote, which would need a separate ballot and a 75% threshold as well. (Maybe that’s why the SAG National Majority has inexplicably left that Strike Authorization Vote sitting out there in order to manipulate the membership with such strike scare tactics.) Stay tuned.