SATURDAY 11:20 AM: I’ve finally received the response from SAG. But it’s abundantly clear that the new leadership erred in not notifying members of the April 30th cutoff date as soon as the SAG-AMPTP Tentative Theatrical/TV Contract was okayed by the National Board back on April 19th:
Thanks for raising this concern and giving us another opportunity to reaffirm our eligibility rules on the TV/Theatrical Contracts referendum.
First, we want to restate unequivocally that any Screen Actors Guild member who paid their November 1, 2008 dues bill by April 30, 2009 is eligible to vote on the TV/Theatrical contract referendum. Those dues were payable November 1, 2008, and the Guild also provided for a 45-day grace period allowing our members to pay their November 1, 2008 dues as late as December 15 and still be considered current.
Most importantly, the Guild’s rules also allow for our members who pay these dues by April 30, 2009, (up to 6-months late) to be eligible to vote on the TV/Theatrical contract. SAG sends out a dues bill only two times per year and we routinely post payment reminders on the website during both dues periods. We also send special reminders to members who are facing termination for unpaid dues.
Voting is one of the most valuable rights and privileges of Screen Actors Guild membership and the eligibility requirements are very clearly outlined in the Guild constitution – a great document that many of our members are very familiar with.
Our National Board also knows how valuable this right is to our members and we hope that all eligible members will educate themselves about the TV/Theatrical tentative agreement and exercise their right to vote on the referendum.
FRIDAY 3:45 PM: I’ve been receiving angry emails from SAG actors detailing how they won’t be able to vote on whether to ratify the Theatrical/TV tentative contract because they didn’t know the cutoff date for paying up dues was April 30th. They claim that SAG did not send out an announcement of this cutoff date which will now disenfranchise them. Because only “SAG members in good standing” are allowed to vote on the contract.
I’m waiting for SAG’s response since Friday but none has been forthcoming except to confirm to me that dues had to be paid through April 30th. The WGA by contrast took the time and trouble to publicize exactly what constituted a member in good standing well before the ratification vote on its contract so writers could pay up past dues to vote. Instead, this appears to be yet another example of SAG’s new leadership failing to be transparent in its decisions and actions.