Eric Bogosian, an independent candidate for SAG’s New York Division, sent out this statement:
Dear New York SAG members,
It saddens me to see our union divided while we are trying to negotiate a new contract. I honestly don’t understand it. I see names of good friends listed on the anti-leadership slate and I don’t get it. You voted our leadership in to do a job, let them do it. Contract negotiations are never easy. But if we want a new contract, we have to let the two sides work it out. And don’t believe the producers’ argument.
It comes down to this. Either you like residuals or you don’t. Either you like have a union protect you or you don’t. I’ve been in SAG for about 25 years now. I joined not to get work, but because I had been employed on a non-union movie in 1983 and was frightened by the dangerous work conditions, lack of adequate breaks and merciless turnarounds.
Since joining SAG, I have worked hard in a healthy environment. I’ve had the benefit of health care for myself and my wife. Two kids born and raised on SAG health care. I have a pension and I get residuals.
So why do I think those things being threatened? Because whether you like it or not, the internet is the future. And all film and TV will be on the Internet within the decade. And the producers don’t want to pay residuals for that distribution.
That’s all. You want to believe the producers and AFTRA leadership that this is a good deal? It’s your option. But exhibit A is what happened to DVDs. We are still waiting for a reasonable deal on that front.
Of course we all want the two unions to unite. And we want to get along. But I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why AFTRA began negotiations during the SAG negotiations. Doesn’t make sense. I also don’t understand why prominent members of the union criticize our national negotiators publicly. What good can that do?
I am not part of a slate. I am keeping an open mind and I am ready to listen to both sides of every argument. But I don’t want to mislead you, either. I feel every single one of our hard-earned union benefits will be eroded if we cave to the producers’ offer right now. Patience is a virtue here. By the way, we don’t need a strike. We just need to hang tough. Right now, the big studios need this contract more than we do.
Someone fought for those rights, those residuals, that health care. Someone did this for me. That’s why I’m running. The union has been very, very good to me. I want to make sure it’s there for future middle-class actors.
Again, I am not part of a slate. I am offering my hard work and attention to bring honesty and stubborness to these negotiations. Like I said, some of my best friends sit on the other side of the fence on all of this. I look forward to working with them toward a new, strong, healthy contract for all our members.
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