In a plea for SAG solidarity, board member Richard Dreyfuss has asked for civility in the ongoing battles within the union.
Dreyfuss made the appeal Thursday in an open letter to Screen Actors Guild members in reaction to the opposition to the proposed SAG-AFTRA merger. Thesp, who has avoided aligning himself with any faction, supports the merger.
“In the last couple of years, the different groups within the guild have each had victories and defeats,” Dreyfuss wrote. “The bitterness and ill will between the factions must now be put aside if we are to move forward as a union.”
In the missive, Dreyfuss said he was dismayed by statements from merger opponents, particularly on the issue of not receiving full disclosure. The SaveSAG group has employed the slogan “What Are They Hiding?”
“There will always be conflict in ratifying such a deal because there are always areas that mean more to some, and no one sees the world in exactly the same way,” wrote Dreyfuss, who is one of two Oscar winners, along with Cliff Robertson, on the SAG board. “But there is no reason for mudslinging — for the opposition to make accusations of hidden agendas and stupidity on the part of those who created and support this deal. Personal attacks should not be part of this debate.”
Opponents contend SAG will lose its power and identity under the proposal, which will create an umbrella union with affiliates for actors, broadcasters and recording artists. Dreyfuss said, “This is not a subversion of the guild’s autonomy; this deal represents the ongoing, well-meaning and absolutely necessary activities of a representative-run union trying to survive and prosper in the 21st century.”
Ballots go out to members on June 9; more than 60% of voters in both unions must vote yes for the merger to be approved.
Billy Crystal has signed up with the backers, while Vince Vaughn has joined the opponents.