The Screen Actors Guild’s national negotiating committee is set to meet today in the wake of the majors’ rejection of the guild’s latest request to restart contract negotiations.
There was speculation that the meeting’s agenda might include a vote among the committee members on whether to call for a strike authorization vote by the guild’s broader membership. A SAG spokeswoman would not comment on rumors that the committee would consider taking such a step at today’s powwow at SAG’s Miracle Mile HQ.
In a statement Tuesday, SAG national exec director Doug Allen said guild leaders were “disappointed” at being rebuffed by the majors after Rosenberg and Allen urged a resumption of talks in an open letter published in Tuesday’s edition of Daily Variety.
“We do not believe that their rejection of our reasonable request is in the best interests of our members or the industry,” the statement from Allen said.
Rosenberg and Allen highlighted in their letter three major issues that stand in the way of a deal. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers maintains that new talks would be unproductive because SAG has not changed its position on those three issues, involving new-media compensation and force majeure provisions, nor has it formally taken off the table other bargaining points that were nonstarters for the majors (Daily Variety, Sept. 30).
A move to seek a strike vote would seem to conflict with the upset results of SAG’s board election last month in which the Rosenberg-led Membership First faction lost seats on SAG’s national board to an upstart faction, Unite for Strength, that has been critical of the guild’s handling of aspects of the negotiations.
There’s also no doubt that a strike would be a hard sell to many members at a time when the nation’s economy is reeling from the Wall Street meltdown.
To go on strike, SAG would have to secure the approval of 75% of members who took part in a strike authorization vote. That high margin has been a big obstacle in SAG leaders’ efforts to pressure the majors into sweetening the final offer that was put on the table June 30.