More Unrest Within SAG Membership

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The Screen Actors Guild has not resolved its current contract battle but another fight is shaping up within the union.

A slate of 31 actors, including Dule Hill (USA's Psych), Doug Savant (pictured)of Desperate Housewives and Amy Brenneman and Kate Walsh of Private Practice have signaled their dissatisfaction with the current leadership and have applied to be nominees for the Sept. 19 election for the union's Hollywood delegation of the Board of Directors.

The slate is calling itself “United For Strength” and is critical of the combative stance current SAG leadership has taken against its sister actors union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The group notes that current leadership rebuffed attempts to merge the two unions in 1998 and 2003, a move the slate apparently believes would have strengthened the power of a single union.

The group also criticized the “futile” attempt by SAG leadership to convince AFTRA members to vote down a contract offer similar to the terms now before the SAG board. The SAG board has stated it can't accept that offer, which included compensation for new media applications, because too much has changed in the production business world since the contract “template” was developed and approved by directors six months ago.

Nominees needed to submit their names by today (July 24). About one-third of the 71 Hollywood seats on the board are up for election and the slate hopes to win a majority of those seats.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have set a Aug. 15 date for SAG to approve the contract offer now before the union. Should SAG fail to approve the contract, it runs the risk of losing new media and other compensation for its members, retroactive to July 1, the date the current contract expired.

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