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SAG Resets Strike Authorization Vote

Dec 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Screen Actors Guild national board has rescheduled its strike authorization vote for after it meets face-to-face Jan. 12, pushing back the previously announced timeline by two weeks.
SAG rescheduled the authorization vote due to conflicts between leaders and members who support a strike authorization and those who oppose it. According to a letter from national executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen addressed to members, “While almost 100 high profile members and 2,524 total members have endorsed the strike authorization vote mandated by the national board, more than 100 high profile actors and 1,373 actors have lent their names to the opposition campaign.”
The increasing division has led the union to hold a special face-to-face national board meeting Jan. 12 and 13 in Los Angeles, in order to “address this unfortunate division,” Mr. Allen said in the letter.
SAG had begun an education campaign urging members to support the national board’s request for a strike authorization vote in hopes of using a potential work stoppage as ammunition in its contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers of America. AMPTP to this day has stood by its June 30 offer, and after federally mediated negotiations failed last month, SAG began preparations for a strike vote.
The growing division within the union, however, may hinder SAG’s goal of reaching the required 75% “yes” vote needed to authorize a strike. While the conflict within the union in partly based on the terms of the proposed contract, members also are concerned about edging toward the brink of what would be Hollywood’s second strike in as many years during an economic downturn.
“This division does not help our effort to get an agreement from the AMPTP that our members will ratify,” Mr. Allen said.
SAG originally planned on mailing ballots on Jan. 2 and tabulating results on Jan. 23. Now SAG will meet on Jan. 12 and for part of Jan. 13. The union still intends on allotting three weeks for members to vote and submit ballots, pegging the potential tabulation date for the week of Feb. 4, though no official dates for distribution or tabulation have been confirmed.
The Jan. 12 meeting will replace SAG’s original national board plenary meeting scheduled for Jan. 24.
The AMPTP kept up its pressure on the union this week.
“The last year has surely been a challenging one, but after long sessions of hard bargaining, all of the Guilds and Unions in our industry, except one, have reached new labor agreements,” the AMPTP said in a statement on its Web site. “We sincerely hope that, before too much time passes in 2009, we will also reach a labor agreement with the Screen Actors Guild.”
(Editor: Baumann)

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