SAG-AFTRA Agree On Commercial Package; Talks On For Feb. 23

The prospect of negotiations slip further into the ether with the expected filing of a complaint by SAG President Alan Rosenberg on Thursday

Latest statement from SAG and AFTRA after Saturday meetings about commercial contracts:

 
"On Saturday, February 7, the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists met in videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York and approved by an overwhelming majority a package of proposals for the changes to the AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts and SAG Television Commercials Contract. The SAG and AFTRA Commercials Contracts will be bargained under the terms of the Phase One Agreement that applies to the Commercials Contracts negotiations only. Negotiations are scheduled to commence on February 23 in New York. "           
 
 

 

Earlier, at 5:00 pm on Thursday:

 

Back Stage's Strike Watch blog reports that SAG and the AMPTP are planning their next tête-à-tête for February 17 and 18, but representatives for both sides would not confirm the meeting. However, SAG's Communications Executive Director, Pamela Greenwalt, told TheWrap that "dates have not been confirmed."

 

Earlier:

 

A Superior Court judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order to block the removal of Doug Allen as the negotiator for the Screen Actors Guild.

 

He denied the request for the order by SAG President Alan Rosenberg, vice president Anne-Marie Johnson and their supporters on the grounds that the claim had little probability of success on its merits.

 

 “I’m pleased that we can put this matter behind us and dedicate our complete focus to the needs of Screen Actors Guild members. There’s a lot of work ahead of us.” said Screen Actors Guild Interim National Executive Director David White.

 

The SAG national board of directors will meet jointly with AFTRA on Saturday to discuss upcoming commercial contracts negotiations, and will have a SAG board meeting on Sunday. Both will be held via videoconference in Los Angeles and New York.

 
 
Earlier: 
 
Legal action planned for Thursday threatened to continue to derail any chance of further negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
 
SAG President Alan Rosenberg and his hardline supporters were expected to refile a legal complaint requesting a temporary restraining order against his own guild. The move was aimed at reinstating Rosenberg’s top deputy, Doug Allen, and blocking the arrival of a new negotiator, David White.
 
The claim, which a judge initially rejected on Tuesday, seeks a restraining order that would block any further negotiations with the studios. The impending legal action brought to a halt talks that were planned for two days this week.
 
The claim, made available by the court, names numerous members of the guild’s moderate factions, and accuses them of breaching California corporate law by failing to gain a unanimous vote on Allen’s removal. They include Mark Blum, Amy Brenneman, Morgan Fairchild, Richard Masur, Kate Walsh and a dozen others. [Read the complaint.]
 
Doug Allen was removed by a majority of the board in a written “letter of assent.” The suit alleges that this action was “fundamentally flawed,” and breached the California code governing non-profits, which calls for unanimity rather than majority vote.
 
“SAG members will suffer irreparable harm if defendants and/or the task force negotiate for them,” the claim says.
 
The lawsuit will make at least two other claims, but lawyers said say the unanimity question was most likely to lead to the granting of a temporary restraining order.
 
If the move is granted, the guild is in for an extraordinarily awkward Saturday. The board will meet with AFTRA executives to decide on a negotiating package to offer  commercial companies. SAG and AFTRA have scheduled talks with commercial companies on Feburary 23, and the hope had been to achieve a deal with the movie and television studios before that began.
 
If the stay is granted, that means that Doug Allen will represent SAG at a board meeting whose members had just ousted him by majority vote.
 
“How could anyone with a grain of self-respect want to come into the room under these circumstances?” asked board member and Allen opponent Richard Masur. “When he knows the first chance we get we’ll turn around and fire him again?”