I’m told that tonight’s SAG Hollywood Division meeting began with an advisory motion presented by George Coe asking the SAG National Board to immediately send out the AMPTP’s February 18th “Last, Best And Final” offer to the membership for a vote. Coe, a Hollywood Division board member and Membership First’er and part of the ousted TV/Theatrical negotiating committee, reminded SAG National Executive Director David White that, according to federal labor law, the union only has 60 days from the date that the offer was presented to respond, or the AMPTP can unilaterally impose the LB&FO. White was asked to immediately call a SAG National Board meeting to discuss sending the contract out for a membership vote.
“What happened next had jaws dropping all over the room,” a source told me. “It was clear from David White’s response that he intends to let the clock run out without calling any SAG National Board meeting or sending out the contract. He said SAG had to be ‘strategic’ about this and wanted to make sure the Commercial negotiations were going well before proceeding. That made the MF [Membership First] members go ballistic.”
Those Commercial talks are currently in recess for a week. When told about the urgency of getting the AMPTP LB&FO in the members’ hands for a vote, White responded, “This is not something to do when you’re distracted by the other contract… We’ll have to assess when to have a meeting … I’ve spoken to many members who don’t want us to send out the contract for a vote.”
Unite For Strength leader Ned Vaughn also was dead-set against setting the LB&FO out to members: “If we send this contract out, and it’s accepted, that goes against what the Board wants… The reason [MF] wants to send the contract out for a vote is to get the members to vote against it so a Strike Authorization Vote will follow… Since 75% of the [SAG] National Board rejected the contract, who will write the ‘pro’ statement?” (For those of you who need a scorecard, Unite For Strength is part of the SAG National Majority coalition running the Guild now along with all but one member of the NY Division and the entire Regional Branches.)
I’m told Vaughn’s comment prompted another Hollywood Division Board member, Membership First’s Anne DeSalvo, to respond, “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.”
In the end, Coe’s proposal was passed because of the Hollywood Division support of Membership First (even though the Unite For Strength contingent voted no). But this is just an advisory motion to the SAG National Board, so it doesn’t have much in the way of muscle to force the new leadership to let membership have any say on the contract.
The question I have to ask again is, Exactly what is it that the SAG National Majority will do? If White truly does nothing, and the AMPTP is allowed by federal labor law to unilaterally impose that LB&FO on SAG, then the membership will never get to have their say on the terms of the new contract one way or the other. That would be inexcusable.
To date, the SAG National Majority has never tried to improve the terms of the AMPTP’s LB&FO once it was presented February 18th — except to debate its expiration date. Obviously the new leadership feels that this contract, a retread of AFTRA’s lousy contract, is good enough though even the new NED White told the SAG National Board it “sucked” and it undermines vital issues like residuals and jurisdiction in New Media. The SAG National Majority’s goal in the past was to attack the old Guild leadership at every turn. Its goal in the future is a AFTRA/SAG merger at any cost. As for any plan for the present, it’s obvious that the SAG National Majority still doesn’t have one.
But the AMPTP does. I always wondered how the SAG National Majority was planning to get the proposed TV/Theatrical Contract ratified by the membership. But I never thought it would be by doing nothing.
- SAG Board Today Votes To Reject AMPTP “Last Best Final” Offer
- SAG National Majority Has No Clue What To Do Next
- AMPTP Gives SAG “Last Best Final” Offer And Blows Off New Negotiators: Deja Vu
- Why The Smoke & Mirrors, SAG & AMPTP?