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If your vision is so clear, why not illuminate us? Forget about saying one thing and meaning another…. how about saying SOMETHING. Give us a hint of this clarity. A glimmer of this vision. Without it, your words are as empty and dull as the prompter off screen.
And who was the last celebrity/career actor/SAG President with absolutely ZERO experience in either politics, negotiation or SAG Board Membership?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Melissa Gilbert.
Not to disparage her – she meant well and wanted desperately to do a good job – but some of the decisions she made caused SAG irreparable harm.
Ken Howard is no different. During his “interviews” (of canned, pre-screened questions) he continually misleads by not giving all the details and using disparaging statements and spin to confuse the truth – which is U4S’ modus operandi. This is the kind of leader SAG needs? Not me. Just saying something doesn’t make it true, Ken. Your “answers” are so plainly rehearsed, so obviously memorized (and edited) that there is absolutely no honesty in your eyes.
As an actor, you’d think he would at least be able to conjure up some convincing emotion. But he’s phoning this in – which is exactly what he would do as SAG Prez. Because face it, he’ll be the facade and mouthpiece of U4S’ angry mob, doing their bidding and saying what they want him to say.
I, personally, will not CONSIDER any type of merger with AFTRA until that guild makes truthful, verifiable public statements as to their financial well-being. And neither should you.
Comments on the Youtube website are STILL disabled for Ken’s videos.
I got as far as “This election is about….” you, Ken Howard, NOT listening to us.
It is CRYSTAL clear, but MF’ers don’t want to listen.
1) Strengthen our relationship with other unions like DGA, WGA, IATSE.
2) Stop fighting with AFTRA
3) Merge the unions
4) Have a UNITED UNION that will have much stronger leverage for Actors and get us greater gains in the future!
I think it’s pretty simple and agree. The MF and AMJ stance of “put all actors under one union” is fine rhetoric, but the one union they mean is SAG and the terms are only THEIR TERMS. They basically want to shell all the actors out of AFTRA in a hostile fashion and force AFTRA to only rep “non” actors.
We already tried to get AFTRA to revolt during the contract ratification on the Theatrical contract. And guess what? It PASSED. And not just because the “broadcasters”. It took the majority (over 50%) of dual card holders to pass that AFTRA contract with the numbers it passed by even if EVERY non-dual card holder voted for it.
So the idea that we can get the dual card holders to jump and work only under SAG is not only ridiculous, it’s illegal. MF, with SAG funds behind them, couldn’t even convince half the dual card holders to vote NO on the contract. How in the world will they convice ALL of them to stop working AFTRA contracts. Especially now that AFTRA has so many more contracts. I mean, how many actors do you know would turn down a recurring (or any) job on a network show simply because it’s AFTRA? I don’t know any.
If you want to ask specifics, ask AMJ what happens when the hostile take over attempt of AFTRA turns into war with SAG v AFTRA and AFTRA taking more and more contracts from SAG. This forces all actors to do EXACTLY what Ken Howard said (and what is happening right now) – Spend more money on initiation fees, less likely to qualify for pension and health… oh yeah, and have SAG and AFTRA negotiating contracts separately.
I don’t need a crystal ball to see how that works out. All I need to do it look at the past year and see very clearly how that will turn out for everyone.
I fully support a merger of SAG and AFTRA. One that will protect Actors and still include all the other types of performers like background, singers, dancers, puppeteers, musicians and broadcasters.
FYI, SAG currently represents all but musicians and broadcasers, so it’s not that big of a stretch. I have NEVER voted on a puppeteer contract or other non “acting” contracts that I am not affected by in all my years with SAG, and despite the differences, only in front of the camera actors have ever become President of SAG.
ONE Union, ALL Performers, TRUE Solidarity!
In TRUE Solidarity,
I decided to count your AFTRA mentions vs. your SAG mentions. 12 to 8 on the AFTRA side. I think that speaks volumes.
What “hostility”, Peter? Just you saying that is more spin, and it makes the rest of your comment disingenuous. There is no “hostile takeover” in the works.
“Stop fighting with AFTRA”? SAG is NOT fighting with AFTRA. More spin and scare tactics. AFTRA chose to turn their collective back on their sister union and SAG has had to deal with that. Who’s really fighting whom?
U4S took over the SAG board in a political coup, and then (and still) makes comments to “stop all of this fighting!” Who’s really fighting whom?
And although it would be nice if SAG had better (or even great) relationships with WGA and DGA, those other guilds won’t have any sway with regards to bargaining for now or in the future. DGA will go in early and do what they do. WGA has their own membership to think about. None of them will (nor can) fight/strike with SAG for better working conditions. Be nice if we could, but it’s just not in the cards.
Yeah, I want TV News Anchors voting on my residual structure. Please…
To candidate Ken Howard from a former schoolmate:
Ken, you and I have known each other since 1967-68. Over 40 years.
We did “The Glass Menagerie” in drama school. You were the definitive Gentleman Caller.
You’re a bright guy. You’re witty and charming and you can think on your feet.
So the $64 question is, “Why do you refuse to debate your opponent Anne-Marie Johnson?”
You have suggested an exchange of emails. That’s a far cry from a face-to-face encounter. With emails, how do we know we’re getting the real Ken Howard? Anybody could be writing your material. As a union leader, asking for our votes, you should be willing to step up and put your convictions (and your qualifications) on the line.
Your qualifications? You were elected to the SAG board a year ago, for the first time. You have missed 74% of all Board meetings since then. How can you learn about SAG governance when you don’t show up to 14 out of 19 meetings of the governing body your fellow members trusted you to work with?
What qualifies you to be the President of the largest union in the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor?
You don’t say much about your qualifications in your campaign videos.
Instead, in those videos, you argue your case for merger. With no one to offer a rebuttal. You make merger sound like the silver bullet. You make it sound simple. And your easy affability is an asset in your presentation.
Anne-Marie Johnson has a very different take on the dysfunctional relationship between SAG and AFTRA. (Her video commentaries are on MembershipFirst.com)
In fact Johnson was recently elected, decisively, to serve on the National Board of AFTRA. Her fellow AFTRA actors clearly trust her.
And no one, to my knowledge, has credibly challenged Johnson’s qualifications to serve as SAG President.
Seeing you and Anne-Marie Johnson debating merger, and other issues, would be compelling and enlightening. Why do you keep denying us the pleasure of a serious, informed debate?
You know how to reach me.
Gary A said “I, personally, will not CONSIDER any type of merger with AFTRA until that guild makes truthful, verifiable public statements as to their financial well-being. And neither should you.”
It’s very clear that you, MF, AMJ and others would NEVER consider any type of merger with the evil AFTRA even if they were dripping money from their ears. Therein lies the problem.
I have yet to hear a step by step plan from MF or AMJ (or anyone here) about how to REALLY merge other than the rhetoric of getting all performers under SAG. And don’t forget I WAS a Performer Alliance member in 1997 and I have seen two merger attempts. I STILL haven’t heard a single plan for how to do it WITHOUT merging with AFTRA other than attacking AFTRA and forcing them to capitulate… and we all know how THAT turned out for SAG.
So what exactly IS the plan?
HOW will MF and AMJ get all “performers” under SAG?
How will they get all the dual card holding actors to jump ship from AFTRA and only work under SAG.
What about the actors who have had speaking lines in front of the camera but are NOT SAG actors? How will they get them?
What about all the contracts that are now AFTRA and will remain that way as long as they are on the air because that’s the LAW?
Let’s put it out there right here, right now. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC STEPS? Anyone???
The “plan” is to not put the cart before the horse. The “plan” is to negotiate the rough stuff before any merger can be considered. The “plan” is careful steps taken to preserve SAG’s finances and work. The “plan” is to NOT “just do it and work out the details later”.
All of your questions could likely be answered, but you don’t want to hear those answers because they don’t consider a wholesale merger of SAG/AFTRA. Besides, who are you kidding? U4S has no plan at all.
You can’t just force something this important on people at their peril. SAG leaders have a responsibility to take every possibility into consideration, and then decide if the obstacles can be overcome – and if so, at what cost. So far, in the umpteen attempts at a SAG/AFTRA merger, the potential benefits haven’t outshined the costs and risks. U4S leaders are being irresponsible to push this so hard without #1) knowing all of the facts of AFTRA’s pension troubles; #2) having some kind of logical, agreed upon by both guilds, plan which would make the two unions function as one; and #3) telling the membership (of both guilds what it’s gonna cost.
Without these three things, merger ain’t happening.
Overall, Anne-Marie’s “plan” is: we’re not going to smash our heads into the brick wall because some people think we need to be on the other side of the brick wall.
I agree with you that those are great questions. However, those three steps will be brought about by U4S or anyone who truly wants a MERGER… the key is really WANTING to merge with AFTRA. It’s still a bit short on the critical details about how that can happen WITHOUT bringing all the “riff raff” broadcasters and such in or HOW the dialog will actually be started with AFTRA by AMJ and MF who have and continue to villify AFTRA as the evil red headed step sister union.
Remember, AMJ, MF, et al are completely against ANY merger… unless it’s actors abandoning AFTRA and coming to SAG. To “bring all performers into one union” with that union being SAG. Don’t you see the limitations? That’s not a merger, it’s a hostile take over and it’s not going to happen. They tried it last year and look at the results.
They don’t want to merge. They just want all the actors to join SAG and all the contracts to magically become SAG contracts.
No one is going to force anything. If U4S is elected, it will take a lot of conversation with AFTRA and many questions need to be answered. However, you must first accept that a merger is the path to go down. And that merger MUST include all SAG and AFTRA members under one roof. To want to pare out the “performers” and leave the broadcasters, musicians and such is pure folly and that is EXACTLY what AMJ and MF want to do. With that ideology we are going nowhere.
If anyone TRULY wants to have serious merger talks between the unions, you cannot elect AMJ who, along with the rest of the MF, have viciously and repeated attacked AFTRA in private and public. If AMJ is elected, she has said she will “poll” the dual card membership about what union they want to work under. That is completely divisive move and indicates that they want SAG to assimilate the best parts of AFTRA and leave the rest to wither away. That’s just not right on a whole bunch of levels. Why exactly would AFTRA even enter into talks with them? The answer, and what history has shown us, is that AFTRA WON’T. They will fight back for all their members and as a result, EVERY actor will lose.
Proud SAG Member since 1991
(somehow, my earlier response to this didn’t make the transitional website updates – I’ll paraphrase…)
Peter, you said, “those three steps will be brought about by U4S or anyone who truly wants a MERGER… the key is really WANTING to merge with AFTRA.”
This is at the crux of the whole U4S/merger proposition. Why should we (SAG, or anyone) want to merge with all of AFTRA? We may have to, in some form or fashion, but the fact remains that bringing all of AFTRA together with all of SAG will dilute the entire memberships of both, adding a great number of “non-performers” into the mix who (probably) will be able to not only vote on my acting/TV/theatrical contract, but whom could also resist a strike, should that be necessary. And IF the merger plan would/could separate those “non-performers” from voting on “performers'” contracts, then what’s the difference? I mean, if the whole idea is to get “performers” (“actors”) under one roof for complete protection, for independent contract voting and non-competitive bargaining, then why would it be a bad idea for AFTRA actors to merge into SAG? (Answer: it might only be “bad” for AFTRA, not SAG.)
SAG is by far the larger union; more powerful (at least historically); not a pushover for management; conceived by screen actors for screen actors (as opposed to AFTRA which started out in radio)… the list goes on. This isn’t to diminish AFTRA’s qualities, such as they are.
The Screen Actor’s Guild is better than AFTRA in virtually all comparisons and anybody who denies that is smoking crack (not literally, jeez…). That strength and respect didn’t just happen overnight – that power and respect exists because SAG has always fought to be the premier professional actors’ organization in the world, instead of bowing to pressure from the AMPTP and outside influences. AFTRA can’t touch that by comparison.
Further, I would argue that AFTRA has the benefits and power that it currently has by riding SAG’s (the much larger and more powerful guild) coattails into contract negotiations for the past half-century. AFTRA’s management has abused and disrespected that relationship.
Further, you said, “They [AMJ, MF, et al] don’t want to merge.”
Right again. What professional organization would WANT to merge with an entity which allows unlimited inclusion and access? Anybody and his recently-paroled buddies can just walk into the AFTRA office, plunk the money down and be a “union member”. That’s not what a professional actors’ organization does (though there are many professional actors within AFTRA).
A wholesale merger with AFTRA may be the lesser of two evils (current AFTRA undercutting and job-poaching being worse), but that outcome would likely be at great cost to SAG (and if it would NOT be a great cost to SAG, I wish the U4S “leadership” would prove that point – nothing from them so far). If that’s true, then why, why, why would we want to merge with AFTRA? There’s nothing about a wholesale merger with AFTRA that will make SAG better, only more complicated and fractured. (Unless SAG completely absorbs AFTRA, and runs,controls the one union, which would be the ONLY way that I,personally, would agree to a wholesale merger – and then ONLY after seeing AFTRA’s financials.)
For now, there’s a better way – a limited merger/acquisition that’s beneficial to SAG members and also beneficial to AFTRA actors. With no ill will toward the remaining “non-performers” within AFTRA, they should be represented by an organization which has their best interests in mind, and voting on their own contracts. (By the way, nobody is saying anything at all derogatory about broadcasters nor any other members of either union. Please stop with the hate-mongering, suggesting anyone’s calling them “riff-raff”.)
SAG members should not want to help AFTRA after all that’s been done. We should want to help fellow actors, absolutely. This isn’t hate for AFTRA. But if AFTRA hadn’t started poaching SAG work (trashing our long-standing agreement), we wouldn’t be in this mess. Why should we want to “help them” now? AFTRA’s management has made its bed. It now has to lie in it – for better or worse.
The bottom line is the only reason U4S wants to merge with AFTRA is to help AFTRA, not SAG.
(Disclaimer: These comments are my own, and are in no way intended to disparage AFTRA in any way. I am not a SAG board member.)
Actually the first (and only that I am aware of) President that had never served on a comittee or been in board room was Bill Daniels of the MF Slate who lead us into the commercial strike in 1999.
And with that, you have just proven my point. Experience is crucial for president of ANYTHING. Ken has virtually NONE.
“I decided to count your AFTRA mentions vs. your SAG mentions. 12 to 8 on the AFTRA side. I think that speaks volumes.”
That’s an enlightening approach, however not very germane. If you are trying to say I have bias towards AFTRA simply because I mentined them more, you’re wrong.
I’ve served on SAG committess and been a board replacement for SAG. I’ve done my duty, vote in the elections and keep myself informed of the facts of SAG.
The fact that I may not agree with you doesn’t dillute the reasoning behind my opinions. It’s very clear to me that if we continue at this rate that SAG and all actors will suffer. Unless and until we bring the unions TOGETHER, not just attempt to alienate AFTRA by strongarming dual card members, actors will continue to lose valuable revenues and opportunities.
As long as there are two unions vying for the same productions, the only winners will be the AMPTP. You, the MF, AMJ and many who post here think the answer is to bully AFTRA until either their members jump over to SAG or AFTRA capitulates, leaving only Broadcasters, musicians and their ilk in AFTRA and bringing all the “true performers” into SAG.
I think that a war like that will take years and be very bloody. The end result will be severe set backs to all actors for decades. Frankly I also thinks it’s one we can’t win.
You, MF and AMJ think that our background, stunt poeple, puppeteers, singers and dancers are somehow superior to the non-actor riff raff in AFTRA.
I think that one union will be a STRONGER union and that just like SAG is today, can accomodate many types of performers WITHOUT losing control to the non-actor members. SAG already does it now and Actors by their shear numbers control SAG (and would continue to control a merged union).
I just figured the majority opinion should be out here, where the minority opinion seems to be so vocal. Never forget that a MAJORITY of SAG members voted for merger last time :-) That seems to be forgotten on many.
I welcome the answers to my questions about the details of “bringing all performers under one union”. I’ve been waiting 10 years, so I’m patient.
Considering what SAG is up against regarding negotiations, merging with anybody should be on the back burner. It’s like vote for this guy, so we can merge. Is all I’m hearing. If actors were so lucky to have a merger be it’s only ‘problem’.
This guy has zero sincerity in his eyes, he’s ACTING the candidate role.
When the AMPTP does not want to give us (SAG) a fair deal as in the last contract, and all the BIG NAMES have said we will fight with you (SAG) in two years (our next negotiations period), how will we do that by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors?
I wonder if we merged how are you going to get broadcasters, weathermen and DJS to vote for a strike authorization let alone a strike if that is what it came to. (WHY would they strike for us?…..Seriously!!)
Would I like to see a robust cordial round of give and take between SAG and the AMPTP… YES!!!!
But lets be real that only happens in Fairy Tales, and UFS taking control of our Union for the last year of negotiations proved neither side (M1ST or UFS) can play NICE AND COMPLAICENT and expect to get anything!!!
So how exactly is more people who are not actors and do not work our contracts going to make us (SAG) stronger when we need to do the hard negotiating?
I do not get the logic in… merger good for SAG!!!!
First of all, I admire your character for posting here and “fighting the good fight” over what you believe. Your posts are concise and to the point and seem to come from a place of reasoned thought.
I feel that both sides in our union have becomes too passionate about their own points of view to work things out. It’s the same in Washington. And it annoys me. Where is reason in all of this? But be that as it may, it is where we find ourselves. So sides must be chosen.
I cannot support U4S because they took power in a coup. They militantly overran our own elected leadership all the while claiming they were the party of reason. Telling us it was time to negotiate in good faith, while muzzling those they had overran. I find that scary, really scary. Seriously, consider that as a character trait. Take a minute and let that sink in. “We are militant with our own and conciliatory with others.” That is such blatant dishonesty that it should terrify. And how can that be good for our union?
So no matter what they claim to stand for, “where there’s smoke there’s fire.” You are asking us to support a leader and party that came in by force. I can’t help myself. I’m gonna say it. It’s downright Un-American.
They behaved exactly like famous people. They want what they want and people give it to them. Sad, but true the power that comes with fame is a true phenomenon, you see it in restaurants, green rooms, concert lines, etc…that’s how that coup happened. That’s the vibe I get from this Ken Howard, not an ounce of empathy, rather an ego based campaign, he read EVERY SINGLE WORD! He would look down at you, and over his shoulder, come on, if you live in Hollywood you know EXACTLY the type. I walked PAST Anne-Marie, and she looked me in the eye.
He’s the guy that gets elected and has his handlers do the work while he vacations at Camp David. That’s why there’s no live debate, if that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.
My concern though, as soon as we see that Tom Hanks video, it’s over, people go into trance. “He’s so successful he must KNOW” No, he’s won the lottery, and that doesn’t make you know it all, what that makes you is OUT OF TOUCH.
The real problem with SAG is that there are 120,000 members and 100,000 of them will never work again. But they’ve got a SAG card, which makes them special. And they’ll cling to the card for all it’s worth, until they’ve squeezed the last drop. At which point SAG will be totally useless. It won’t be 10% of new TV, it’ll be 0%.