Campaign signs interim deal with unions

HOLLYWOOD — Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has made peace with striking union actors with an interim agreement allowing union actors to perform in Bush campaign spots.

“Thanks to a cooperative effort, we were able to reach an understanding that made us comfortable proceeding forward under the terms of the agreement,” said Mark McKinnon, media director of Bush for President.

Agreement, signed by Maverick Media with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, covers radio and TV ads.

Accord brings to a close more than two months of attacks by SAG and AFTRA against the Bush campaign over its decision to shoot a pair of non-union ads after its media consultant, Stevens & Schriefer Group, had signed an interim deal in early May. The unions began a PR blitz against Bush on the final day of the Republican convention in Philadelphia (Daily Variety, Aug. 4).

Pulling complaints

SAG and AFTRA have agreed to drop the unfair labor practices complaint filed last month against Stevens & Schriefer. “We’re pleased that Maverick Media will be producing radio and TV commercials for the Bush campaign under SAG and AFTRA interim agreements, demonstrating their belief in the value of union contracts for this vital advertising work,” said SAG spokesman Greg Krizman.

The unions say they have signed more than 1,900 interim deals since the strike started May 1, including previously announced agreements with the campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and the Green Party’s Ralph Nader. The interim deals contain terms proposed by the unions at the bargaining table prior to the collapse of negotiations in mid-April.

The ad industry claims that no major advertiser has signed such a deal but the unions countered by announcing that three dozen smaller agencies have made spots under interim pacts on behalf of big-name advertisers.

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