Message To The Membership From Membership First
February 10, 2009On January 26th, a Written Assent, signed by 41 members of the Screen Actors Guild National Board, fired NED/Chief Negotiator Doug Allen, appointed David White as SAG’s interim National Executive Director and promoted SAG Senior Advisor John McGuire to the position of Chief Negotiator. The Written Assent also dismantled the Standing TV/Theatrical Negotiating committee, replacing it with a “new and improved” Task Force and designated Mr. White and Mr. McGuire as the only official spokespeople for our union, prohibiting SAG’s two nationally elected officers from communicating directly to the membership.

Interim NED White called for a “special meeting” this past Sunday, to try and “fix” the January 26th Written Assent due to pending legal action challenging the validity of the assent.

MembershipFirst firmly believes that the June 30th Final Offer from the AMPTP is unacceptable. We have not lost our resolve. The New SAG Board Majority wants to make a deal, no matter how disastrous it could be for the 120,000 members of this union. MembershipFirst has little faith that the majority of the newly formed TV/Theatrical Task Force will have the experience, knowledge or determination to bring back a deal that can be endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the national board and most importantly, by over 50% of the membership.

Product Integration, Force Majeure, TV Residuals for Stunt Coordinators, Union Security, Increases in Background numbers and expansion of Background zones, Residuals for Pre-1974 Product when exhibited in New Media, increases in the DVD/Home Video Residual Formula are all issues vitally important to the continued health and security of this union. No one expects to get everything we need or want. But what SAG members need to demand of this new negotiating “task force”, led by John McGuire, is that at a minimum, they must hold firm on total jurisdiction in New Media and residuals for all product made specifically for New Media. AT A MINIMUM! The same two core principles unanimously endorsed by SAG’s National Board.

In October 2008 a Strike Authorization Referendum was approved by 97% of SAG’s National Board. The board has not rescinded the SAV. The SAV is still alive. We believe the membership has the right and obligation to cast a vote and MembershipFirst board members will fight hard to protect that right. We will also protect the right of every SAG member in good standing, to have the right to vote on this contract.

MembershipFirst is sensitive to the fears and concerns within the entertainment community regarding our negotiations. Our actions are not arbitrary or selfish. We are ALL facing challenging economic times. We are not immune to work slow downs and unemployment. But we are not just fighting for TODAY. We are fighting to protect every actors’ ability to make a middle class living today AND in the FUTURE.

Stay strong. Stay involved. Stay tuned.