SAG members have strongly backed a strike authorization over the guild’s made-for-cable contract — the first such endorsement since the 2000 commercials contract strike.
The strike authorization, approved by more than 90% of those attending five recent caucuses, represents the first official step toward a work stoppage on such shows as “Monk,” “The Closer,” “The Shield,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Wildfire” and “Nip/Tuck.”
Reps for the companies and SAG are scheduled to meet today in Los Angeles, though the confab isn’t a full-fledged negotiating session.
Citing a news blackout, guild didn’t disclose voting results from the caucuses on Monday, a day after the final caucus in Los Angeles drew more than 350 members to the Harmony Gold Theater.
During that confab, a range of thesps asserted the producers’ offer of a 14% increase in residual payments fell short of being acceptable because the residual structure hasn’t been changed in 16 years despite significant increases in made-for-cable revenues.
Guild president Alan Rosenberg, who won the office last fall on a platform of more assertive bargaining, said Monday in a statement, “I am inspired by the incredible support the elected leadership of the guild continues to receive from across the country. The guild’s negotiating team, both members and staff alike, will meet with producers with a renewed sense of pride and purpose.”
Rosenberg also stressed that SAG isn’t committed to a strike. “As is always the case, we hope to avoid any work interruption in pursuit of that equitable deal,” he said.
The companies had no comment. Their offer would align residuals compensation with the formulas used by the DGA and the WGA.
Nicholas Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, expressed frustration last week with SAG’s refusal to accept the offer. He noted it would give thesps a more favorable package than that for DGA or WGA because SAG’s current compensation structure doesn’t include a discount for non-network programs.
Under the current contract, SAG performers receive 12% of the minimum of $716 for the first rerun, down to 1% for the 13th rerun and beyond. The producers’ offer would boost that first rerun figure to 17% and adjust the other percentages to match the figures in the DGA and WGA deals — moves that would boost overall compensation by 14%, according to Counter.
SAG and AFTRA members gave a 93% endorsement of strike authorization in March 2000. After negotiations collapsed a month later, the unions struck the ad industry for six months before reaching a deal.