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August 1, 2014

The SAG strikes back

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 11th 2008 11:02AM
Remember the good old days when dock workers, air traffic controllers, teachers, and strike placard makers went on strike? Good, hard-working people who didn't make much money but put their bodies and well-being on the line every day to improve themselves and their community. In exchange, they received measly little things like health insurance, safe work conditions, and a vending machine in the break room that didn't eat quarters, dollars or fingers.

Those Norma Rae days are long gone. Now the only strikes we hear about are ones like the latest looming threat of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild, according to Reuters.

It's not that I don't feel sorry for SAG members or that I'm against their plight. Just about every industry in America has greedy CEOs who take as much as they can from as many as they can, all under the guise of performance and production bonuses earned by not running the company into Hell. It just feels like it could not have come at a worse time.

SAG (motto: We're not a jock manufacturing company) could be asked to take to the picket lines and walk off the job just as the economy's ever-increasing death reach stretches from coast to coast. So, not only will they have to fight for what they deserve, but they'll also have to do it when prices are high and jobs are scarce. That's a big death card in the CEO's tarot deck.

Just like the writer's strike last year, actors wants a fair share of Internet revenue profits for their work. Alan Rosenberg, president of the SAG, said eight of the major CEOs didn't even bother to show up to the mediation table to talk about it. They just took out a huge opposition ad in the Los Angeles Times in the hopes they could sweep strike talks under the rug because newspapers are only being used for oil changes and oven cleanings instead of viable news sources these days.

"How can we get a deal when CEOs hide behind a newspaper ad rather than engage us in constructive dialogue?" Rosenberg said in a video announcement on SAG's non-jock manufacturing related website.

So the strike deadline is January 2, 2009. If 75 percent of the membership vote "yes" instead of "no" or "Pat Buchanan," they walk. And so could some of your precious little TV shows while actors and their kind are starving and spending their last pennies on posterboard and custom printed T-shirts.

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MERVE-THE-PERVE

I bet the AMPTP is praying they go on strike so they can plaster prime-time tv with reality shit and make tons of profits like during the WGA strike. That will be the end of network tv as we know it for those of us who watch scripted shows. The big 4 networks are looking for any excuse to program reality shit exclusively without taking the blame for putting it on themselves. If there is a strike that would give them their excuse to do it, blaming it on the striking actors and a lack of scripted product. And because the dumbass Nielsen system always picks the idiots that watch that shit all the time, they will never go back to scripted shows since they will be making more money than ever before. Then the actors will really be screwed having to fight over fewer jobs. The unions best bet is to take the best offer now and try again in 3 years and hope things are better then. I doubt many of them will starve if they take the same offer that the other unions took this year.

December 12 2008 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Porchland

No way do the actors strike after the Leno announcement, or they run the serious possibility of CBS and ABC cutting another 10 scripted hours out of the network schedule.

December 11 2008 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

However, several news reports have indicated that the Industry is not holding up to the agreements made with the WGA from their strike and settlement from last year, mainly, in the form of payments regarding Internet play.

For example:

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117996194.html?categoryid=18&cs=1&nid=2562

Where the WGA files for arbitration against AMPTP for not paying their residuals as promised.

So...why should SAG sign the same agreement, if the Industry is already stiffing the WGA?

And as also reported during the WGA strike, not ALL the writers who belong to the WGA make the high salaries that were reported by the Industry.

Just as not ALL SAG actors make the same salaries as the NAMED stars on some series.

December 11 2008 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Morjana Coffman's comment
Karen

If they aren't paying what they are supposed to, what makes them think they'll pay any other deal. That argument just doesnt' fly.

Pfft. Unions. Their time has come and GONE!

December 11 2008 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

Ugh... This is not the time to put below the line workers out of a job due to your desire for more funds SAG.

December 11 2008 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Yes, This would really mess up scripted shows on Network Television.
SAG could win the battle and lose the war. Less TV shows means less actors working.

December 11 2008 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim

Being a union gal, I can sympathize with most union struggles. I have a little harder time sympathizing with actors in Hollywood, baseball players, etc. whining about how poor they are. If they do decide to strike, it will surely put one more nail in the coffin of network television which is increasingly in danger of becoming extinct.

December 11 2008 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kim's comment
Brent McKee

If every member of the Actors Guild was a George Clooney or a Katherine Heigl I might agree with you, but they're not. SAG also represents, protects and takes care of actors like Zibby Allen, and Crystal Kwon (both of whom appeared in "Grey's Anatomy" - I'm using them just as an example), actors who appear on a show for a few episodes, or have a speaking part in a movie. It's not all - or even a majority - of the membership who are making huge amounts of money and whining about it. In fact the big guys can take care of themselves and it's the small fry who need the protection that SAG offers.

December 13 2008 at 2:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

From last I heard they are being offered the same package that the Writers and Director Guilds have Accepted. Why do they get to have more?

My only caveat to my own question is that it's their face that is out there in media, where it's there other peoples words, minds, and visual eye that is out there. But it is a different form of talent, doesn't make it more valuable. I don't get why they think they are more important then everyone else, in the middle of a really crappy economy.

December 11 2008 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ryan's comment
Ergolad

Read the deal and review the arguments and you'll see why.

December 14 2008 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

In this economy they would be fools to strike.

December 11 2008 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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