SAG May Seek Strike Authorization Vote In December

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Hollywood could be bracing for another work stoppage early next year.

The Screen Actors Guild said it would send out its strike authorization vote in December, which could pave the way for actors to strike in January.

SAG president Alan Rosenberg, in a message to the union’s 120,000 members Wednesday, wrote: "Your leadership believes that we must be empowered with the real threat of a work stoppage in order to let management know that we are committed to protecting the future of all actors. We ask for your support, knowing that you have entrusted us to fight for your rights, and to protect your wages, working conditions and your health and pension benefits. We take your trust very, very seriously and will work towards reaching a fair agreement without a work stoppage."

For its part, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers fired back after the Rosenberg letter was disseminated.

"SAG's latest mass email fails on three counts. It fails to explain why SAG deserves more than everyone else in the industry. It fails to justify why SAG members should bail out a failed negotiating strategy by striking during a time of historic economic crisis," the AMPTP said. "And it fails to explain why it makes sense to strike when SAG members will lose more during the first few days of the strike than they could ever expect to gain."

It was unclear when the strike ballots would be distributed and should it come to that SAG would need three weeks for the voting and 75% membership approval to authorize the movement.

SAG has been without a contract since June 30, and the last talks with the AMPTP, which were headed by a federal mediator, broke down Nov. 22.

The Writers Guild of America went on strike on Nov. 5, 2007, a work stoppage that interrupted both Tinseltown television and film production. A new contract agreement was reached and then ratified in February. Subsequently, the Directors Guild of America and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, whose members have some overlap with SAG, approved new AMPTP pacts in February and May, respectively. On Nov. 20, AMPTP reached an accord with the crafts union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts

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