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SAG to continue WGA support

Actors to support strike 'as long as it takes'

With the writers strike entering its seventh week, SAG president Alan Rosenberg has pledged that the thesps union will continue backing the Writers Guild of America.

“I am writing to you on behalf of 120,000 proud members of Screen Actors Guild who stand with you in solidarity as your strike continues,” Rosenberg said in a message sent Sunday to WGA members. “We believe that now more than ever, we must remain strong and even more committed to achieving our common objectives. We are proud to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with you and SAG will be there for as long as it takes. Your fight is our fight.”

SAG, which negotiates its basic film-TV contract jointly with AFTRA, has been prepping for contract negotiations next year with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Studios have ramped up feature film production in recent months as a hedge against a possible strike by actors when their current contract expires June 30.

Rosenberg, who’s in his second term as SAG president, has been a strong supporter of the WGA strike and has stressed that he plans to push hard on new-media compensation issues at the bargaining table. He also blasted the AMPTP for its move on Dec. 7 to insist that the WGA remove half a dozen proposals as a condition of continuing negotiations.

“I and other Screen Actors Guild representatives have attended your negotiations and your negotiators have been reasonable and professional,” he said. “The AMPTP put draconian rollbacks on the table, wasting months of negotiating opportunity. The AMPTP walked out of negotiations twice…most recently after an unreasonable ultimatum that WGA withdraw six key bargaining proposals including several relating to new media compensation.”

No negotiations have taken place since Dec. 7 and the AMPTP’s insisted that the WGA’s more interested in striking than making a deal and has sidetracked negotiations into peripheral areas. “The WGA organizers are on an ideological mission far removed from the interests of their members,” it said when talks collapsed.

Rosenberg made no mention of the recent announcement by the Directors Guild of America — which also has a June 30 contract expiration — that it will move next month to schedule talks with the AMPTP if the WGA hasn’t made a deal by the end of the year. He also noted much of Hollywood has been shut down by the strike and that actors are not working.

“But we know that this fight is for the rights of all creative artists, and our collective future is at stake,” Rosenberg said. “We share your sound and reasonable goals for fair compensation for new media formats and we believe you are doing the right thing by taking a stand. As 2007 comes to an end please be assured, Screen Actors Guild will stand with you for as long as it takes.”

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