There’s labor peace in Hollywood at last.
Members of the Screen Actors Guild have ratified a new deal with producers by an unexpectedly strong margin of 78 percent for and 22 percent against. The vote ends nearly two years of labor strife in the industry, a turbulent timeframe that saw writers go out on strike for 100 days.
The standoff between SAG and producers bitterly divided the union, a point underlined by union president Alan Rosenberg’s statement Tuesday basically denouncing the action of his own membership.
"The membership has spoken and has decided to work under the terms of this contract that many of us, who have been involved in these negotiations from the beginning, believe to be devastatingly unsatisfactory," Rosenberg said, indicating he planned to immediately begin fighting the next fight.
"Tomorrow morning I will be contacting the elected leadership of the other talent unions with the hope of beginning a series of pre-negotiation summit meetings in preparation for 2011," he added. "I call upon all SAG members to begin to ready themselves for the battle ahead."
SAG’s interim national executive director, David White, struck a more moderate tone.
"This decisive vote gets our members back to work with immediate pay raises and puts SAG in a strong position for the future," he said. "Our members can expect more positive changes in the coming months as we organize new work opportunities, repair and reinvigorate our relationships with our sister unions and industry partners, and continue to improve the Guild."
The SAG vote attracted a higher than normal 35 percent of the guild’s membership. The new deal expires in 2011, the same year as deals with Hollywood’s writer and director guilds.