SAG leaders set member meetings

Town Hall to discuss strike authorization vote

With SAG’s strike authorization vote in the spotlight, guild leaders have scheduled a pair of meetings to update members, publicists and managers.

SAG will hold a town hall meeting Monday at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood about the vote, expected to be sent to members around Christmas (Daily Variety, Dec. 4). It will also meet two days later at SAG headquarters with personal publicists and managers.

In a message sent to members Friday, SAG said the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers had failed to address the needs of actors at the bargaining table despite the efforts of your negotiating team and the intervention of a federal mediator.

“A strike authorization from SAG members will show the AMPTP that the unique needs of actors cannot be addressed by a pattern of bargaining,” SAG said. “Actors needs must be addressed for a deal to be made.”

SAG’s expected to announce at the meeting its specific timeline for sending out the ballots to the 120,000 members, with the date for return probably sometime in late January.

A strike could occur only if the authorization receives 75% support from those voting. SAG’s 71-member national board has final say over whether to call a strike.

SAG national exec director Doug Allen and president Alan Rosenberg issued the invitation to the publicists and managers Friday with any rhetoric.

“We have received numerous inquires about the status of negotiations, and we’d like to have the opportunity to discuss the situation together,” the duo said. “Please join us at this important meeting.”

The latter meeting may provide some indication as to whether SAG plans to disrupt the Feb. 22 Academy Awards.

In response to SAG announcing the meetings, the AMPTP said Friday that it has published the entire final offer to SAG at its Web site, AMPTP.org.

“We want every SAG member to review it closely and then make an independent judgment about whether it makes sense to strike over an offer that includes meaningful increases in wages and

health and pension benefits, along with numerous first-ever new media rights,” the AMPTP added.

“We welcome a vigorous public debate, and we hope as many people as possible

with participate fully.”

SAG and the majors have been in a stalemate most of the year over hammering out a new master contract to replace the deal that expired June 30. Most of the rancor has centered on new media language on residuals and jurisdiction that’s in six other union contracts signed this year by the AMPTP.

SAG’s insisted that it cannot accept the new-media terms at a time when the sector’s expanding while the AMPTP declared repeatedly that it won’t sweeten the deal, particularly amid the current economic crisis.

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