The Screen Actors Guild national board of directors voted this weekend 52% to 48% to oppose the closure of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Long Term Care Facility, the guild announced.
The Board received presentations from representatives of the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) and the Resident-family coalition Saving the Lives of Our Own.
After thorough discussion of both sides of the issue, the board voted 51.74 percent to 48.26 percent to publicly oppose the closing of the MPTF’s Long Term Care facility.
“I think the extremely close vote is evidence of the difficult decision we wrestled with today,” said Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg.
“The MPTF’s significant financial and operational concerns were absolutely heard, but after hearing the presentations from both sides of the issue, our board voted to oppose the closing and did so to try and preserve the legacy of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Long Term Care historic commitment, in honor of the screen actors who founded it – Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin,” Rosenberg added.
Eighty-four elderly and ill residents are being transferred to other facilities since the January decision by the Motion Picture Home directors to close the long term care facility.
Frank Mancuso, Chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Corporate Board of Directors, issued a statement saying he was "disappointed" by the action, but appreciated the board’s "willingness to hear our presentation and the support we received from the 48.26 percent of its members who voted against this resolution."
Mancuso added that if the fund did not close its long term care unit, which he said is losing nearly $1 million each month, and transfer the 84 residents who currently reside there, the fund would go bankrupt within five years.
Mancuso added: "We would no longer be able to provide services to SAG members who made 23,000 visits to our health centers and social workers last year or any of the 60,000 other industry members who rely on us for care. Nor would we be able to continue providing financial assistance to the entertainment industry, including the 214 SAG members who received financial aid from the Fund in 2008."
The closure has raised angry responses from members of the Hollywood community who question why the fund made a seemingly sudden decision, without public debate or appeals for further funding.
The full text of the SAG motion follows:
It was moved and seconded to approve that the SAG National Board publicly state the Guild’s opposition to the closing of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Long Term Care Facility.
Approved 51.74% – 48.26%
The board also voted 70.49 percent to 29.51 percent to postpone the automatic increase of the initiation fee for 2009.
The move provides an economic incentive to new members across the country by approving a one-year remission in the standard increase to the new join fee.
“The automatic increase in initiation fees would have made the cost of joining SAG more difficult for actors across the country, particularly in this difficult economic period. This action recognizes the stark reality facing professional actors and helps to keep the possibility of membership within reach of those who wish to join,” said SAG Interim National Executive Director David White.
The Guild’s initiation fee increases are determined as a multiple of the principal day rate as determined by the Guild’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors met today at a previously scheduled videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York.