The prose and the con

Approval would trigger a ratification vote

Attempting to mollify opponents of their tentative deal with TV and movie studios, SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA prexy John P. Connolly have announced they will recommend to the SAG/AFTRA Joint National Board that a con statement be included in the upcoming member ratification vote.

The joint board is expected to approve the deal Saturday, triggering a ratification vote of the 140,000 members. The three-year pact contains more than $200 million in gains; opponents have complained about the lack of gains on DVD residuals and allowance for three free primetime reruns for 60 days.

“We believe this deal stands on its merits, and we also believe that the membership deserves and has a right to expect an honest, open assessment from its unions,” Gilbert and Connolly said in the announcement Thursday. “By inviting those who disagree with the decision of our negotiating committee to state their views in the official document, we are taking a stand against divisive political infighting in support of full disclosure and democratic debate.”

The unions said the individual national board rules for SAG and AFTRA also allow for a “minority report” in the event 25% of the board of either union votes against a proposed contract but noted there’s no such policy for the joint board.

If approved, ratification ballots would go out in a week and be due back at the end of February. Current TV/feature contract expires June 30.