3RD UPDATE: SAG’s National Board met in a special videoconference session today and voted by a 59% majority — bigger than expected because Membership First’s Keith Carradine and another MF member Angela Watson joined the “Yes” side — everything it had already done by written assent on January 26th. Carradine’s vote was all the more surprising because he had been so vocal during SAG’s June 8th “Solidarity” rally organized by Membership First to urge SAG/AFTRA dual-cardholders not to ratify the newly negotiated AFTRA/AMPTP contract. (See rally photo, left.) And the various factions that campaigned to create the SAG National Majority have expressed support for a SAG/AFTRA merger. So Carradine’s decision to side with it today was a big psychological boost for the SAG National Majority.
Interestingly, sources tell me that two other Membership First members also voted “Yes” — but did so only because of parliamentary procedural reasons and not because they were siding with the SAG National Majority and approving the written assent. These two wanted to move things along in order to get to the next motion which would have put all the SAG actions on hold until April. That’s how the SAG National Majority got up to 59% today.
In other news from today’s special videoconference meeting, the SAG National Majority confirmed that the new TV/Theatrical Task Force led by new SAG chief negotiator John McGuire has contacted the AMPTP and formally scheduled talks for February 17th and 18th.
However the SAG National Board in executive session never got around to approving David White’s contract as Interim NED. (Those proceedings are supposed to be secret, but several anonymous commenters alerted me to this development.) Nevertheless, Doug Allen’s firing, and White’s hiring, were reaffirmed today. So White will continue as Interim NED except work without a contract.
The SAG National Majority’s pro forma move to call this special videoconference meeting was intended to thwart Membership First’s four-member appeal (to be filed next week) of an L.A. Superior Court judge’s rejection Thursday of a request for a temporary restraining order against the written assent. The 41 National Board members who signed the written assent fired National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen, split his job between new NED David White and new chief negotiator John McGuire, and replaced the SAG negotiating committee with a reconfigured task force to bargain with the AMPTP.
So now later this month, the SAG National Majority — that coalition between most of the NY Division, the Reginal Division Branches, and the Hollywood Division minority Unite For Strength plus 2 Membership Firsters — is free to negotiate a replica of the AFTRA contract, with a few theatrical bones from the AMPTP thrown in, and send it to the membership for ratification. As I’ve said repeatedly: vote for it or vote against it. But let’s get on with it already.