Board debating authorization, Allen's removal
SAG’s leaders have gone into overtime, extending their emergency national board meeting well past the deadline.The meeting had been scheduled to stop at 1 p.m. Tuesday in order to enable East Coast reps the time to catch flights back home. But the confab at SAG headquarters in Hollywood was still going as of 2:30 p.m. without any indication of a finish time. The board began meeting at 9 a.m. Monday so it’s coming up on 30 hours with only a few recesses for meals. The moderate wing of SAG’s board is pressing for a vote on a resolution that would end the strike authorization vote, replace the negotiating committee and remove national exec director Doug Allen as chief negotiator. Though in the minority, supporters of the once-delayed authorization vote have been attempting to delay the board vote on the resolution. SAG board member Seymour Cassel asserted Monday to several reporters that the board had voted to remove Allen from his slot as lead negotiator though not as national exec director. But SAG spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt denied that the panel had ousted Allen. The actor, who’s part of the Membership First faction that’s lost control of the national board, nearly beat SAG president Alan Rosenberg, when the latter ran for re-election in 2007. The moderate wing of the national board — which has held a slight majority since the fall –introduced a resolution Monday that would replace SAG’s negotiating committee, stop the authorization vote and remove Allen. But the vote on that resolution had not taken place as of early Tuesday morning. The moderates on SAG’s board have become increasingly frustrated over Allen continuing to insist on pushing for a strike authorization along with his failure to reach a deal with the congloms on SAG’s feature-primetime contract. The internal battle has heated up since SAG’s attempt to re-start negotiations via mediation cratered on Nov. 22, when the guild’s negotiating committee insisted on an increase in DVD residuals — long a non-starter for the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. And the opposition to a strike authorization crystalized with high-profile members such as George Clooney and Tom Hanks opposing the idea of threatening a strike amid the worsening national economy. Nearly 2,000 members have endorsed voting no on the authorization while 4,000 have come out in favor. On Dec. 12, members of SAG’s New York Division Board of Directors called for the guild to halt the authorization referendum and demanded that the national board hold an emergency meeting to appoint a new negotiating task force to replace the current negotiating committee in order revive the stalled contract talks with the congloms. The New York board members had supported plans for a strike authorization in October if mediation failed but said in a statement on Dec. 12 that the worsening economy had changed the situation. “Negotiations failed,” the statement said. “Then something else failed, too. The American economy. With that collapse, everything has changed. Our members and our industry are struggling through the worst economic crisis in memory. While issuing a strike authorization may have been a sensible strategy in October, we believe it is irresp
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