SAG strike nears mark

Small group holds fast until negotiations resume

A grass-roots organization of striking actors plans to show its hunger for a settlement by fasting until negotiations with advertisers resume.

Five actors — James Arone, S.A. Griffin, Peaches Johnson, Raymond O’Connor and Jerry Zucchi — will begin a fast today at 10 a.m. at Arone’s Burbank home. Arone’s family will relocate from the residence during the fast.

“The purpose of this fast is to educate and inspire all union members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists,” said the group, dubbed Act Fast. “We will continue our fast until members of the Joint Policy Committee come back to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith to resolve this strike.”

Longest strike

The joint policy committee reps about 800 advertisers and agencies in the negotiations with SAG and AFTRA, which have held two days of bargaining since mid-April. The strike, which is showing no signs of ending, will set a record this week for lengthiest work stoppage.

SAG’s longest strike previously came in 1980, when actors stayed out 94 days from film and TV over wages, pay TV and video revenues.

Negotiators had reached a tentative settlement on the 67th day, with actors agreeing to a 32.25% hike in minimums and a 1% gain in health and welfare contributions. The official conclusion came a month later when SAG members ratified the three-year agreement.

No negotiations set

The current work stoppage, which began May 1, enters its 93rd day today with no negotiations scheduled and both sides accusing the other of inflexibility.

In Los Angeles, activists picketed a Texaco shoot Monday at Universal Studios and a Dodge shoot in Arcadia, as well as half a dozen casting agencies using non-union actors. They plan to picket a casting call for non-union actors for a Captain Crunch spot today in Santa Monica.

About 400 union supporters in New York demonstrated Monday at Xerox’s Manhattan headquarters, and also picketed shoots for Xerox and Burger King using non-union actors.

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