SAG_logoI understand that no one on the SAG board who clashed with the AMPTP’s Nick Counter during the long and bitter 2008/2009 round of negotiations before the Unite For Strength/NY/Regional divisions came to power are being allowed to have their say about his passing. But the Screen Actors Guild issued a statement tonight that, “It is with sadness that we mark the passing of Screen Actors Guild’s longtime industry colleague, Nick Counter.”

Strangely because he barely negotiated against Counter, SAG National Executive Director David White joined newly elected SAG president Ken Howard in issuing the following statement: “Nick Counter was a giant of labor relations whose passing will be mourned throughout the entertainment industry. His long tenure as head of the AMPTP was typified by reason, compassion and flashes of wry humor. Sitting across the table from him was never easy, but Nick was always able to balance the relentless pursuit of his bargaining objectives with an evident respect for actors and admiration for their unique contribution to the art and business of entertainment. His death is a tremendous loss and our hearts and sympathies go out to his wife Jackie, his family, and to our colleagues at the AMPTP.”

Screen Actors Guild Senior Advisor John McGuire was quoted as saying, “Throughout his years as the leader of the AMPTP, Nick brought to that organization balance, leadership and a commitment to finding ways to keep the Industry working for the benefit of everyone. SAG members are in his debt especially for his leadership in the SAG – Producers P&H Plans where his financial advice and guidance helped to protect and strengthen the health and pension benefits so vital to our members. Of equal weight was his involvement in the creation of the SAG Producers IACF fund that has provided vitally needed assistance to numerous SAG and Industry Affirmative Action and Assistance Programs. Nick truly set the bar high for everyone who strives to enhance our entertainment industry while caring for the employees who make it work. We have lost a true professional and a true friend.”

Former Screen Actors Guild Executive Director Ken Orsatti said, “Nick and I sat across the negotiating table from one another through six Screen Actors Guild television and theatrical contract negotiations from 1983 to 1998. Nick was a formidable adversary and he was always fully prepared, always creative, and above all, a consummate professional. He never lost sight of the goal of collective bargaining, which was to reach a fair agreement. For that entire period of time, both sides were able to achieve that goal without a work stoppage. Nick will be deeply missed.”