×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thesp chiefs tout tie-up

60% of voters in each union must approve merger

SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA president John Connolly predicted Monday that the heavily contested proposal to combine the performers’ unions will win approval.

The pair made the assertion at a news conference at SAG’s Hollywood headquarters after spending the past week pitching the “consolidation and affiliation” plan to members, including a similar June 10 event in Gotham. At least 60% of voters in each union must approve the deal for it to go through; only 46% of SAG voters supported a merger in 1999.

“Once members can see the bigger picture, the response has been very positive,” Gilbert declared. “I anticipate a positive outcome because I’m hearing positive things.”

Connolly echoed Gilbert, asserting, “The members see the sense of it. The instinct for unity will overcome the instinct for fear.”

If the deal is voted up, it will create an umbrella Alliance of Intl. Media Artists with affiliates for actors, broadcasters and recording artists. Advocates of the deal argue that it will give actors more clout in negotiations and solve the dispute over which union covers digital shoots for TV; opponents contend the new structure will dilute SAG’s power and be less responsive to thesp needs.

Catching up with times

Gilbert asserted that the current union structure is outdated, adding, “We’ve been talking about this for 60 years and now we’re running to catch up.”

Monday’s event, coming two weeks before the 175,000 ballots are due, was the final organized pro-deal event, with high-profile supporters attending including Stephen Collins, Tyne Daly, Nanette Fabray, Morgan Fairchild, Mike Farrell, Michael Gross, Christopher Lloyd, Peter MacNichol, David Hyde Pierce, Pamela Reed, Marion Ross and Loretta Swit. Connolly also read a message of support from Tom Hanks.

Speakers acknowledged the volatile response the vote has provoked among thesps, with Collins quipping, “If SAG were to vote on immortality, 20% would vote against it.”

Pierce said deal opponents have not adjusted their thinking to changing circumstances. “Opposing this is like a French person standing in front of a McDonald’s on the Champs Elysee and saying they oppose globalization,” he added.

Daly, who originally opposed the proposal, urged members to avoid sentimentality for the current structure, adding, “Change is incredibly difficult.”

Naysayers vocal

After the news conference, opponents held a counter-news conference outside SAG headquarters in front of their mobile “Vote no” billboard, with Karen Black, Valerie Harper, Anne-Marie Johnson and Martin Landau. Speakers cited the uncertainty of using the deal as a springboard to merge the two unions’ pension and health plans and asserted the new structure will remove current execs and leaders from member concerns.

“I love Tom Brokaw, but he and I have very little in common,” Landau declared. “So many things are unresolved in this proposal. SAG and AFTRA are like apples and pears.”

Harper, who voted against the deal as a board member, criticized the promotional push for “glossing over” problems with the proposal. “It’s like an ad campaign for Budweiser, as if they’re trying to open a bad movie before the reviews get out,” she added.

More Biz

  • IWC Schaffhausen store opening, Rodeo Drive,

    8 Luxury Gifts That Industry Leaders Are Spending Their Paychecks On

    Whether you’re celebrating a new launch, a new business venture, or toasting to the end of another successful year, here are eight gift ideas to reward yourself — and to impress the company you keep. 1. Saint Laurent Perforated Leather Tote Bag If you work in the industry, you need a good bag, and you’ve [...]

  • best airlines ranked inflight entertainment

    Holiday Travel Survey Reveals Airlines With Best In-Flight Entertainment

    There are many ways to pass the time if you’re in the air, but for most people, settling in with a glass of wine and a movie is the preferred way to fly. But not all airlines share the same script when it comes to entertainment offerings. A new survey from the website, CableTV.com, ranked [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

  • Jennifer Lawrence Harvey Weinstein

    Jennifer Lawrence Denies Harvey Weinstein's Claim in Latest Assault Lawsuit

    Harvey Weinstein was hit with a lawsuit Friday from an actress who claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her, repeatedly masturbated in front of her, and threatened to harm her career if she objected. The suit details that Weinstein claimed he was trying to help her and that he was the gateway to her dreams. [...]

  • Times Up Hollywood

    Time's Up Entertainment Announces New Industry Mentoring Initiative

    Time’s Up Entertainment, an affiliate of the Time’s Up coalition of women across industries working to improve workplace safety, has announced the “Who’s in the Room” industry mentoring initiative. The program’s goal is to increase the presence of people of color from diverse backgrounds in the entertainment industry’s executive ranks. Funded by a $500,000 grant from [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content