SAG Leaders Turn to Members for Direction

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The leadership of the Screen Actors Guild is polling the union's 120,000 members, asking actors whether the union should continue to fight for contract terms better than those already accepted by directors, writers and the other actors’ union or fight on for a stronger contract.

A postcard with the question is included in a SAG newsletter being received now by the membership. The newsletter itself advocates for holding out for better contract terms on several issues, such as product integration. It also repeats the argument made by chief negotiator Doug Allen (pictured) back on July 14 that new media investments made by the big studios since the Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America approved their respective contracts have changed the entire contract landscape.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers countered the newsletter with a statement of its own, calling for SAG negotiators to close the deal. The postcard mailing is just another delay tactic, the producers’ trade group asserted, meant to “mask the fact that SAG's negotiators have no coherent strategy.”

“In fact, SAG’s postcard ‘poll’ appears to be designed to deliver just one thing: A result pre-ordained by SAG's negotiators…The longer SAG’s negotiators hold out, the more SAG members will lose out on the new media rights and residuals salary, pension and other increases in the producers’ $250 million final offer.”

SAG’s contract expired at the end of June. The poll is to be concluded by Sept. 15, three days after elections for SAG’s board of directors. Seventy-five percent of SAG members would have to support the hard-line stance in order to call for a strike.

A slate of actors who oppose the negotiating position of the current board is running for election to the board, as is a pro-leadership slate.

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