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October 9, 2015

SAG ratifies new contract to avoid yet another Hollywood strike

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Jun 10th 2009 6:05PM
The Screen Actors Guild voted to avoid a strike Tuesday.The long Hollywood labor nightmare that began in November of last year officially ended yesterday when the Screen Actors Guild overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the studios.

Guild members voted 78% in favor of the new agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), despite calls by hard-line union members who urged actors to vote "no" and force continued negotiations.

It's clear that two huge factors in the SAG approval were general labor strife fatigue and the struggling economy.

The Writers Guild started the ball rolling long before it actually went on strike in the witching hours of Halloween night, 2008. That led to a three-month work stoppage that many writers have yet to recover from as it changed the map of film and TV writing forever with arguable gains for the Guild. Many mid-range actors (non-superstars who need to work to survive) were worried about similar prospects if they held out against AMPTP much longer.

Meanwhile, the nation's economy tanked -- with California taking an even uglier tumble. The recession handed most of the bargaining chips to the studios as their coffers could survive a strike -- while most SAG members could not. In the end, the actors settled for what they could get.

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Bruno\'s back

Agreed. Rosenberg should have sat down early. It didn't help having stars bombard him and firstly try to threaten him NOT to strike so that their production companies could continue making millions while the working class actor needed their voices to be heard. That was the actors' only really last move was to strike. They could have struck with IATSE and both contracts would have been settled amicably within a few days to a few short weeks, no doubt. The Studios would have been screwed without crew and actors out on the picket lines at the same time. But no. We had some puppets from AFTRA dressed up in dandy clothing telling the SAG actors, who don't bother to read what's out there, to go ahead and vote yes while the Sally Field's and the Tom Hanks's were endorsing the yes vote since the said contract being negotiated doesn't even affect them.

Hey, here's a good question: Why do both STARS and EXTRAS get to vote on a contract that only really affects the working class day player or the guest stars and co-stars? Why not have each, depending on how many different contracts they've worked under, vote on their own foolish contracts? Why did TV NEWSREPORTERS in AFTRA get to vote on AFTRA ACTORS' wages? Why didn't AFTRA allow ACTORS to vote on TV NEWSREPORTERS' wages? Because AFTRA's Pension & Health Fund is all but GONE so they tried to save themselves by using the actors as a flotation device. I think that it would also be wise for EVERY SINGLE ACTOR TO QUIT AFTRA. Don't pay your dues. Don't give them help. Let them drown. They threw FUEL on the fire and they deserve to burn.

Here's hoping the actors may have a shred left in 2 years because it's all just pretty much toast at this point. This was the BIGGEST mistake in SAG history.

June 11 2009 at 2:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The guild might have had some leverage if the economy hadn't tanked, but this whole fiasco was badly managed from the get go. Alan Rosenberg was screaming strike before the negotiating process even began. Of course, it's not as if the AMPTP is blameless here. Prior to the writers' strike they were bragging about how they were going to break the union, which blew up in their face, and they were little better with the actors' union. The problem with the SAG is unlike the Writers' Guild they were too fragmented. They never had a chance with so many factions working against each other.

June 10 2009 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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