AFL-CIO president John Sweeney has strongly endorsed SAG’s attempt to enforce contracts on shoots outside the U.S.
In a letter released Wednesday, Sweeney said the AFL-CIO condemned recent studio and net opposition to SAG’s Global Rule One campaign, which will discipline members who do non-SAG work in foreign territories if the production is aimed at the U.S. market.
“We are deeply concerned when any employer group sees fit to interfere with the internal workings of any of our affiliate unions and guilds,” Sweeney wrote in a letter to Nick Counter, prexy of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. “The Screen Actors Guild only wants what the directors and the writers have had for many years. For the AMPTP to question the right of a union to enforce its own rules is without merit.”
Sweeney also said the AMPTP’s threat violated “the spirit and intent” of the SAG-AMPTP contract.
Sweeney offered SAG significant support during the guild’s 2000 strike against advertisers, and the AFL-CIO tapped SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert as one of its 51 VPs last December.
SAG launched the campaign on May 1 despite Counter’s threat to sue on grounds that the guild was violating its contract by expanding its jurisdiction illegally. SAG estimates producers on foreign shoots face average hikes of 3% in overall costs by hiring SAG members; Counter has asserted that the guild’s estimate is too low and argued the policy will cut employment opportunities for thesps.
SAG execs met with Counter on Wednesday to seek middle ground in their second such face-to-face meeting since May 1 and agreed to meet again.
SAG has been able to show unanimity thus far on the Global Rule One push with well over 200 high-profile members pledging support. “Everybody Loves Raymond” cast member Doris Roberts disclosed this week she had recently turned down a starring role in “The Dog Walker,” an ABC Family Channel Movie shooting in Montreal, because she was not offered a SAG contract.
“It was a great part and I was available,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be tough for actors to turn down these kind of jobs because they need the work.”