Inside Move: Long division

ATA deal adds up to a tough sell for SAG

The SAG-ATA deal is a long way from done.

As with most SAG issues, the Feb. 25 tentative agreement poured gas on the long-burning fires of disunity. Proponents argue that the pact prevents the chaos of total deregulation; opponents rail against potential conflicts for actors if ad agencies are allowed to own a 20% stake in talent agencies.

But SAG staff immediately began lobbying for the deal, releasing a brace of laudatory press releases, holding a quartet of briefings for board members and reluctantly disclosing the hiring of Clinton/Gore PR spinmasters Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane.

Opponents were not mollified, claiming staff should not be lobbying the board prior to its March 11 vote. They were also perturbed by staff’s refusal to say how much SAG was paying Fabiani and Lehane, who recently pulled down $30,000 a month.

SAG’s board is expected to OK the deal, but insiders are certain there will be a 25% vote against the deal, triggering a “minority report” that will outline the dissension in detail when the referendum goes out next month.

Less than 25% of SAG’s 98,000 members have agents, so it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll do when they get to vote next month.

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