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SAG pickets Voight on non-union ‘Course’

Rule One bars working for non-signatory producers

In the first officially organized SAG picket since the 2000 strike, dozens of union thesps protested Thursday against Oscar winner Jon Voight’s shooting a non-union production, “A Deadly Course.”

SAG board members James Cromwell, Mike Farrell and Tess Harper were among participants, joining pickets from the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees at Valencia Stages, north of Los Angeles. Several protestors noted that SAG fined Elizabeth Hurley and Tiger Woods $100,000 each for performing in non-union ad spots during the strike.

“We find that this a most egregious violation of the ban against non-union work,” said SAG spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven. “This action is a part of our continuing organizing and contract enforcement programs.”

Voight was not available for comment.

SAG’s Rule One explicitly bars its 98,000 members from working for non-signatory producers, with violators facing fines, suspension and expulsion. (SAG has achieved unanimity for it year-old Global Rule One initiative, for productions shot outside the U.S. but aimed at the U.S. market.)

SAG vigorously enforced Rule One during and after the 2000 commercials strike by expelling seven members for strikebreaking, and banning 75 non-member thesps for six months to five years for working on non-union ads.

Thursday’s event brought together activists from both sides of the campaign for and against the plan to combine SAG and AFTRA. Ballots went out this week for that vote and are due back June 30.

SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert appeared Thursday in support of the deal on ABC’s “The View.”

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