Moderates ask Membership First's Jolliffe to join group

The self-styled moderate leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have extended an olive branch to Membership First opponents, tapping David Jolliffe as head of the Hollywood division’s negotiating team at the upcoming feature-primetime talks.

Jolliffe’s filled that role in recent bargaining when self-styled progressives at Membership First had control of the SAG boardroom. SAG president Ken Howard, who was elected under the Unite for Strength banner, is the national chairman.

“David is very knowledgable about the contracts and extremely capable,” said Anne-Marie Johnson, First VP and a Membership First leader. SAG had no comment.

SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists started prepping last week for their joint feature-primetime contract negotiations with the first of more than two dozen “wages and working conditions” sessions. Negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers are set to start on Sept. 27 and run through Nov. 15; the current contract expires June 30, 2011.

Separately, SAG announced Tuesday that a state court had dismissed a year-old lawsuit by Johnson, Alan Rosenberg and two others against SAG and the board members who fired national exec director Doug Allen via a “written assent” — after being blocked from firing Allen by then-president Rosenberg during a marathon 28-hour meeting.

Deputy national exec director and general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said Tuesday, “Screen Actors Guild is gratified that this litigation has now concluded with a final reaffirmation of the Guild’s position by the trial court.”

Johnson said in response she had been vindicated by the board change in the “written assent” rules in April to more closely reflect state law. “We are sorry that the guild chose to waste a large amount of membership dues money to fight what was ultimately agreed to,” she added.

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