Guild acting on strategy

SAG positions La Grua for contract input

HOLLYWOOD — Tom La Grua, who served as chairman of the Screen Actors Guild’s last two negotiating teams, has been named to the guild’s newly created post of national director of contract strategy.

The thesp, who has been serving as third national VP on the SAG board, will start in his new position Tuesday with the goal of spelling out negotiation and enforcement strategies. That means La Grua will be on the hot seat in working out SAG’s strategy should the board move toward ending its five-month impasse with Hollywood agents. CEO Bob Pisano, who was chief negotiator in the last round of bargaining with agents, will continue in that role in upcoming talks.

La Grua also will be significantly involved in laying groundwork for SAG’s negotiations next year for its commercials contract, which will expire in October 2003.

La Grua, a 25-year member of SAG, headed the guild’s side of the negotiating committee for the SAG-American Federation of Television & Radios Artists film-TV contract bargaining last year. Deal was reached three days after contract expiration and mirrored many parts of the Writers Guild of America deal reached two months earlier.

La Grua then headed up the SAG committee that met in January and February to hammer out a revamp of the guild’s master franchise agreement, including loosened agency ownership restrictions and an expansion of agents’ ability to commission actor residuals. Though SAG’s board endorsed the deal, members voted it down in April after a spirited campaign in which the potential of conflicts of interest was a major concern.

He also will be involved in development of strategies on several other key issues, including Global Rule One (working under SAG conditions outside the U.S.), jurisdiction issues and runaway production.

La Grua will be working at SAG’s Hollywood HQ and report to Sallie Weaver, deputy national exec director of contracts.

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