UPDATE: I’m stunned by the bizarre admission below of AFTRA’s chair of the steering committee Matt Kimbrough. Especially after sources tell me that AFTRA leaders gave SAG assurances they would not repudiate the resolution or the entire news release yesterday after reviewing drafts and approving the final version put out to the media. And I’m told the AFTRA leaders themselves chose to have their logo removed from the release.
Look, people have been saying that the so-called WandW is the constitutional process by which SAG and AFTRA get together in a formal committee setting and hear from members across the country regarding issues and proposals for consideration in the negotiating package. This was an action of the Hollywood Joint SAG/AFTRA Wages and Working Conditions Committee which is co-chaired by an AFTRA chair and a SAG Chair and is comprised of SAG and AFTRA members. The committee is not national but the vast majority actors — nearly 2/3 of all actors in the country — live in the Hollywood/SoCal area. This includes AFTRA members and more than 70,000 SAG members. These are working actors. In addition, the majority of television and film work comes out of this area as well so the committee is reflective of working actors who know these contract issues very well.
I’m told that Hollywood Joint SAG and AFTRA WandW members worked hard for weeks preparing an extraordinarily informed and inclusive package of suggestions and proposals. There was reportedly a feeling of elation and even solidarity among them after reaching the joint SAG-AFTRA resolution. From what I’ve heard, all the committee members passed the resolution with an instruction to release it publicly and directed staff of the unions to distribute it. So for any of them now, much less this AFTRA leader, to now renounce the resolution seems not just suspicious but also pernicious.
STATEMENT FROM MATT KIMBROUGH, CHAIR OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS STEERING COMMITTEE:
“The statement issued yesterday by the Screen Actors Guild was erroneous and unfortunately does not accurately represent the current state of affairs between SAG and AFTRA. SAG and AFTRA are not at this point ‘jointly’ participating in the Wages and Working Conditions process for the upcoming Prime Time negotiations. We are merely co-hosting these meetings. Moreover, Friday’s session was an unassigned assemblage of members and had no authority to represent AFTRA’s elected leadership or the opinion of the majority of its actor members.
In my efforts to complete the W&W process, rather than allowing a lengthy discussion on Friday to disrupt the real business of the meeting, I allowed misleading language that misrepresents AFTRA and its members to remain in the resolution. I regret that I did not object to this language at the time. The resolution, now released, is being used as a weapon in an internal political battle between factions within SAG. AFTRA has no interest in being caught up in SAG’s internal battles and I am troubled by the inaccurate rhetoric that distorts the state of our current relationship with each other. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of AFTRA leadership believes that we have a responsibility to proceed with negotiations as soon as possible. I share that belief. I apologize to my leadership if Friday’s resolution has caused anyone to question this position.”