This signed statement from “the majority of SAG’s Hollywood Division Board” just came out in support of SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen. (I have more to post tonight):
We, the majority of the Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Division Board, representing over 70,000 SAG members, responsible for over 65% of the work covered by the TV/Theatrical contract, support our National Executive Director/Chief Negotiator Doug Allen in his tireless efforts. With direction from the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee and the National Board, Allen has tried to secure the best contract he can for the benefit of our over 120,000 SAG members nationally.
We, the majority of the Hollywood Board, in a vote taken at our January 15th, 2009 Board meeting, also support the Compromise presented by Doug Allen to the National Board to suspend the Strike Authorization and to send the AMPTP’s final offer out to the membership.
It is unfortunate and puzzling that some members of SAG’s National Board, many of whom had no involvement with the months long process of wages and working conditions meetings or the months of actual negotiations, have, for the past several months, fought against Doug Allen’s efforts. They’ve pursued a campaign to confuse and frighten the general membership with regard to the negotiations, the contract, our president and our NED/Negotiator, as well as a concerted effort to pre-empt the members’ right to vote. Some past and present Board members have stated that the ultimate goal is to weaken the Screen Actors Guild in order to hasten a merger with AFTRA. Any discussions of merger should be deferred to a later time. The immediate issue now facing the members of the Screen Actors Guild is securing a contract that will ultimately be the template for all SAG contracts that will follow in relation to New Media production, distribution and exhibition. We are committed to the core principle passed UNANIMOUSLY by the National Board in October 2008 that states:
“It is the core principle of the Screen Actors Guild-
That no non-union work shall be authorized to be done under any SAG agreement and;
That all work done under a Screen Actors Guild contract, regardless of budget level, shall receive fair compensation when reused.”
Although many believe in sending out the Strike Authorization, we have come to the realization that through questionable tactics used by the AMPTP, AMPTP operatives, industry CEO’s, industry dependent media, high profile producer/actors and certain members of the board, reaching the obligatory 75% of the SAG membership would be hard to achieve. We believe the compromise suggested by Doug Allen, supported by President Alan Rosenberg, Secretary/Treasurer Connie Stevens, 1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson and the overwhelming majority of the Hollywood Board, is the right path to take considering the circumstances. Neither SAG’s National Board nor its’ negotiating committee has ever accepted the AMPTP’s final offer. It is time for the membership to decide the future of this union. We, the majority of the Hollywood Division Board, believe that the membership of this union will find the final offer, which does not contain, at a minimum: complete jurisdiction in new media, residuals for all original product made for new media, and the protection of Force Majeure– UNACCEPTABLE.
We, the majority of the Hollywood Board and Eric Bogosian of the New York board, support Doug Allen. He is a true unionist and the strongest and most dedicated National Executive Director/Chief Negotiator the Screen Actors Guild has seen in decades.
President Alan Rosenberg
Secretary/Treasurer Connie Stevens
1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson
Eric Bogosian (New York Board)
And this unsigned statement from “the majority of Unite For Strength, and Board Members from Hollywood, New York and the Regional Branches”, came out earlier in the week:
A MESSAGE TO SAG MEMBERS FROM THE NATIONAL BOARD MAJORITY
Unite for Strength and Board Members from Hollywood, New York and the Regional Branches
As you’re undoubtedly aware, Screen Actors Guild is currently beset by a crippling leadership crisis. With the TV/Theatrical contract having expired nearly 7 months ago, negotiations at a standstill, and our negotiators’ strategy hinging on a strike authorization vote for which there is clearly insufficient support, we called for a special National Board meeting to consider a new approach.
At that meeting, held Jan. 12-13, we attempted to postpone the strike authorization vote, replace Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen and the negotiating committee, and direct a newly appointed negotiator to restart talks immediately.
Despite strong support for these steps from a clear majority of the National Board, President Alan Rosenberg and Mr. Allen’s other board supporters stood squarely in the way of our implementing them. For 28 hours straight, they used filibusters and other parliamentary games to run out the clock on the meeting and prevent a vote from ever taking place.
The next day Mr. Allen proposed a new plan to shelve the strike authorization, go back to the table to see if “producers would improve their offer” and then send out that offer for ratification with no board recommendation to members, only pro and con statements. It is noteworthy that when faced with a call for his removal, Mr. Allen suddenly saw fit to suspend the strike authorization that has been the cornerstone of his strategy, and indeed the topic of a 12-page promotional newsletter delivered to Hollywood members just days ago.
But unlike the plan we were obstructed from putting into place at the meeting, his is not a serious effort to get a better deal. SAG has never sent members a contract that our National Board didn’t recommend ratifying. We shouldn’t start now.
We firmly believe that SAG needs a change of course and a new captain. Mr. Allen has held fast to a failed strategy for over half a year, even as members have lost nearly $50 million from working under an expired contract. In addition, under Mr. Allen’s tenure, numerous other expired agreements have languished without renegotiation, SAG’s strategic relations with its sister union AFTRA have been badly undermined, and partisan tensions within the Guild have grown steadily worse.With new direction, we can turn this around and put Screen Actors Guild back on the right track.
We will work to quickly send members a TV/Theatrical contract that carries a positive recommendation from the National Board. We will also focus on successfully negotiating the Commercial agreement and other remaining contracts. We will rebuild vital relationships throughout the entertainment industry, and bring much needed stability back to the Guild.
We are now planning concrete steps to achieve this and will keep you updated as events warrant.*
In the interest of compliance with the AFTRA-SAG non-disparagement agreement under the AFL-CIO, Members of SAG’s National Board majority who are also AFTRA officers or board members wish to officially record themselves as abstaining from this statement.
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