In an emotional letter, the weakened SAG president defended his chief negotiator Doug Allen who was booted from office by angry board members.
SAG President Alan Rosenberg has been officially gagged in a maneuver by a majority of the guild’s board, but he isn’t silent by a long shot.
The increasingly isolated guild president issued a rambling, emotional letter
to the membership on Tuesday evening in which he defended his ousted negotiator, saying Allen was fired because “he was simply too good, too strong, and too much a unionist.”
Rosenberg was stripped of his powers to speak on behalf of the union as part of a coup staged on Monday by a majority of the board, angered by what they saw as the insistence of Alan & Allen – as they are being called – on pursuing a strike vote. They delivered letters of assent to the guild demanding Allen’s removal, and he stepped down.
But far from feeling pressured by the ouster of his chief negotiator, Rosenberg came back swinging at his opponents, who he called undemocratic. “I believe I do speak for the nearly 48% percent of the Board who are deeply concerned about what was done yesterday and about how these changes were accomplished,” he wrote.
He went on: “Many of us believe that Doug Allen was fired because he was “simply too good, too strong, and too much a unionist. His greatest sin was in challenging the idea that we be bound by the concept of ‘pattern bargaining,’ under which actors have been disadvantaged for decades.”
The through-the-looking-glass quality of the inner workings of the guild seem more pronounced by the day.
Rosenberg did not address the obvious dismay by a large number of guild members that seven months have passed with no perceptible progress toward a deal with the Hollywood studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Instead, he said he and others “were amazed by Doug's skill as a negotiator and team leader, and by his diligence and breadth of knowledge. We were profoundly moved by his love for and dedication to actors.”
Furthermore, Rosenberg said, if the new negotiator, John McGuire, achieves any gains at the negotiating table, it will be because of Allen, not McGuire. “Make no mistake,” wrote the president. “If there is any gain made, or if we are ultimately able to resist one of the massive roll backs that has been demanded, it will not be due to the skill of this new ‘negotiating team.’ Anything that is won from this point forward will still be the result of the enormously hard work put in by Doug Allen.”