I'm back doing a toe-touch in the midst of my book tour, but even so I cannot believe that the Screen Actors Guild is calling for a strike vote after the no-progress meetings with a federal mediator and the AMPTP this week.
How can this be? I'm hearing from SAG members that they are furious that the guild is painting itself into this corner in the very same year that another strike yielded so little after slowing the industry to a halt for three months.
This message went out to members today from the guild negotiating team:
"Management continues to insist on terms we cannot responsibly accept on behalf of our members. As previously authorized by the National Board of Directors, we will now launch a full-scale education campaign in support of a strike authorization referendum. We will further inform SAG members about the core, critical issues unique to actors that remain in dispute.
We have already made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach agreement. Now it's time for SAG members to stand united and empower the national negotiating committee to bargain with the strength of a possible work stoppage behind them.
We remain committed to avoiding a strike but now more than ever we cannot allow our employers to experiment with our careers. The WGA has already learned that the new media terms they agreed to with the AMPTP are not being honored. We cannot allow our employers to undermine the futures of SAG members and their families."
And I'm hearing this from Mark Willis who is starting a petition against any strike:
"There are many out there who have had a seriously angry reaction to todays news that SAG heads are seeking a strike authorization. Second, they won't get the authorization anyway (let's be realistic) so that means that will be another 2 months WASTED, and during this period of wasted time, Hollywood will have slowed production significantly due to strike fears, thus putting countless out of a job even without a strike actually occurring. " Here's his petition.
I know how the studios feel about all this. They are calling the strike authorization vote "bizarre," and the guild "tone deaf," given the economic meltdown all around us. Apparently they believe that the guild leaders would automatically need to cave, given the weak economy. Actually, I kind of figured they would too. Facts are facts.
But that's not what is happening. I would like to understand what could be gained by a strike. I'd also like to understand what was gained by the last one. SAG members, I hope you will weigh in. I may not be blogging full time just yet, but I will be following this story and – not to brag, but – I did help find $25 million of your residual cash.
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