November 26, 2008
Dear Screen Actors Guild Member,
As your president, I want to take this opportunity to communicate directly with you about recent developments regarding our television and motion picture contract negotiations.
Last week, under the guidance of a federal mediator, we attempted to resolve our differences with the AMPTP. Our national negotiators and committee met with the mediator prior to our sessions with management, and followed the protocol and advice of the mediator. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts over two days to find creative solutions designed to move the process forward and to reach agreement, the federal mediator adjourned the mediation process early Saturday morning after concluding that mediation was over.
Now, per the resolution passed by 97% of our newly constituted national board of directors in October, we are launching a member education campaign and we will send out a strike referendum ballot to SAG members in December. We ask that you support your board and negotiating committee, and vote YES to authorize the board to call a strike only if it becomes absolutely necessary.
Your leadership believes that we must be empowered with the real threat of a work stoppage in order to let management know that we are committed to protecting the future of all actors. We ask for your support, knowing that you have entrusted us to fight for your rights, and to protect your wages, working conditions and your health and pension benefits. We take your trust very, very seriously and will work towards reaching a fair agreement without a work stoppage.
Management continues to apply its one-size-fits-all demands to SAG actors. And we continue to stress that actors have unique, reasonable needs that are different, not better, but different, than writers, directors and crewmembers. So they are telling us to allow the unions who negotiated before SAG to be our proxies. I wonder, would NBC ever let ABC negotiate its license fees for them? Of course not, but they think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask us to defer to the needs of other union workers and ignore what is critical to actors and their families.
It’s also curious that these global corporations are preaching to us about the bad economy. Like it’s our fault. As middle-income actors we are the victims of corporate greed. We didn’t cause this turmoil.
Now, more that ever, we need to take a unified stand, in solidarity, and protect the art of acting, and actors. I cannot stress this enough. Our ability to make our livings as professional actors for decades to come is at stake. New media is not an “experiment” as the employers want you to think. It’s their future, and it’s our future.
So please, don’t believe all the rhetoric management is sending over the airwaves and to the press. Please read your SAG emails and watch our website for the real facts.
To see this message on SAG TV click http://www.sag.org/sag-tv or go to www.sag.org, click the “home” tab and select SAG TV.
Please email Contract2008@sag.org with your questions or suggestions.
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