March 4, 2009
By Anne-Marie Johnson
The following is my opinion. I am not speaking on behalf of Screen Actors Guild:
Why hasn’t SAG sent out a strike authorization ballot?
The simple answer is that the vast majority of the Hollywood Division Board has constantly voted to send out the SAV (strike authorization vote). But the majority of the National Board, with a handful of Hollywood Board members voting with the New York and Regional Branch boards, has refused to allow the membership, the ultimate authority within SAG, their right to vote on the strike authorization or the AMPTP’s “last, best and final offer.”
On February 17, 2009, the newly formed TV/Theatrical Task Force, under the leadership of newly appointed Chief Negotiator John McGuire, resumed negotiations with the AMPTP. After three days of negotiations, the AMPTP presented its LBF offer, which was found unacceptable by McGuire and the task force.
During the National Board meeting on February 21, 2009, a motion to reject the LBF offer was made and approved. Yet, once again, there was little-to-no support from the aforementioned board members to send out the SAV or the AMPTP’s LBF offer along with the rejection. And once again, the majority of the board has denied SAG members the right to vote.
From the conclusion of our Wages and Working Conditions committee meetings in March 2008, to the February 21, 2009, board meeting, I have been and will remain a strong advocate of sending out a SAV, as have been the majority of the disbanded TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee. Unfortunately, not enough members of the “moderate” board majority share in that advocacy. Some have been very public with their disdain for the SAV, lending their names to petitions, open letters and articles, disparaging and undermining the hard work done by former Chief Negotiator/NED Doug Allen and the Negotiating Committee.
If not the SAV, why not send out the LBF offer? What are we waiting for? In my opinion, the deal is not going to improve. Please log onto AMPTP.org to read the AMPTP’s LBF offer, if you haven’t done so already. It is a BAD DEAL. Forty-four days of actual negotiations, two days of mediation and three days of resumed negotiations with the revamped task force proved that the AMPTP had/has no intention of working with SAG to create an acceptable deal, potentially securing labor peace for years to come–regardless of who was sitting across the negotiating table.
The Hollywood Division represents roughly 70,000 members, generating more than 65 percent of the earnings under the TV/Theatrical Contract. It is the responsibility of all of us to be as involved and informed as we can be. If you are fed up with the delays and want to either vote on the SAV or the LBF offer, as soon as possible, please let YOUR union know. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Get involved. Be heard.
Screen Actors Guild released this statement following the National Board meeting on the same day:
Los Angeles, (February 21, 2009) – The Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors today voted 73 percent to 27 percent to “reject the AMPTPs last, best and final offer dated February 19, 2009.”
We entered this round of negotiations sending an unmistakably clear message that we were ready to make a deal. In an effort to put the town back to work, our negotiator agreed to modify the Guild’s bargaining position to bring the Guild in line with the deals made by our sister unions.
The AMPTPs last-minute, surprise demand for a new term of agreement extending to 2012 is regressive and damaging and clearly signals the employers’ unwillingness to agree to the deal they established with other entertainment unions. The demand for a new term of agreement was not part of their final offer of June 30, 2008; it was not part of the federally mediated talks of November 2008, and should not have been inserted into the discussions when we returned to negotiations on February 17, 2009.
What management presented as a compromise is, in fact, an attempt to separate Screen Actors Guild from other industry unions. By attempting to extend our contract expiration one year beyond the other entertainment unions, the AMPTP intends to deleverage our bargaining position from this point forward.
Screen Actors Guild’s goal is to successfully complete these negotiations and get the industry back to work as soon as possible. The AMPTP has clearly stated their need and desire for financial certainty and industry peace. This new proposal does the exact opposite, and will only result in constant negotiating cycles and continued labor unrest.
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On February 23 members of the joint SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract Negotiating Committee met in New York to begin negotiations with the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), the bargaining group representing ad agencies and advertisers.
The Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA met on February 7 in a video conference plenary in Los Angeles and New York and approved by an overwhelming majority a package of proposals for the changes to the AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts and SAG Television Commercials Contract. The SAG and AFTRA Commercials Contracts will be bargained under the terms of the Phase One Agreement that applies to the Commercials Contracts negotiations only.
The current contracts were extended from October 31, 2008, to March 31, 2009. In anticipation of these negotiations, an extensive Wages and Working Conditions process was conducted where members were invited to provide input.
Information regarding the commercials negotiations can be found on SAG.org. Check your e-mail and mailboxes for updates as well. Send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Reynolds, Anthony Cistaro, Nayla Wren,
Alphy Quintos and Jenn Heater
Hollywood Members and National Staff Step Up for Workers' Right to Join Unions
Driving rains and a blustery winter storm didn’t dampen the spirits of the SAG member activists and national staffers who walked more than 10 miles through the streets of Los Angeles with more than 600 members from over a dozen unions at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s “Freedom to Sign Up” March on February 6. The march was part of numerous labor events held throughout the country in support of the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, the proposed federal legislation that clears the way for unions to organize more workers and more union jobs.
As is stands today, there is a convoluted process in order to unionize a workplace, or in our case, a production. For years the National Labor Relations Board has overseen a lengthy and complicated union election process that favors employers by allowing them time to build well-financed anti-union campaigns to intimidate workers from joining a union or from attempting to organize their work under a union contract. The Employee Free Choice Act provides that workers can vote on the spot for union representation and immediately become part of a union bargaining unit (thus, dubbed the “card check law" by many.)
The march started at federation headquarters at Alvarado Street and Olympic Boulevard, and ended with a rally at the Federal Building in Westwood. A group of SAG staffers cheered the marchers on as they crossed Olympic near SAG Headquarters.
By taking to the streets, marchers applied pressure to California legislators, urging them to support workers rights. SAG member-activists Elizabeth Reynolds, Anthony Cistaro and Alphy Quintos walked the entire march along with SAG staffers Nayla Wren and Jenn Heater.
With new media driving new business models and the proliferation of non-union productions, SAG members getting involved in organizing isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. And because productions move quickly, actors who want to organize a production under SAG don’t usually have time to go through the NLRB process. With the Employee Free Choice Act, all workers will have the right to become part of a union in a timely fashion.
Watch for more information on how you can support the Employee Free Choice Act and make organizing union jobs for actors a reality.
Screen Actors Guild recognizes that its members have unique circumstances when applying to the Employment Development Department for benefits (EDD). To assist you in completing the forms, please call the SAG Unemployment Hotline at (323) 549-6888. A handbook can also be found on the website SAG.org under Guild information. Click on the “Documents Library” tab and follow it to a PDF of the Unemployment Handbook. If you have any questions, you should contact your local EDD office.
Apply today to find out whether the Screen Actors Guild Foundation can help you or a family member with your education or career transition. The 2009 John L. Dales Scholarship application for eligible SAG members and children of members is available now at SAGFoundation.org. Click on Scholarships to view eligibility requirements. There are two types of scholarships, standard and transitional, and the application deadline is March 16, 2009. For more information, contact Davidson Lloyd at (323) 549-6649 or dlloyd@SAG.org.
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation is a humanitarian, educational and philanthropic organization that offers substantive assistance to Guild members and the greater community through its programs. For more information, or to make a charitable donation, please visit SAGFoundation.org.
Since 1985, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation has embraced its mission to assist, educate and inspire actors to their fullest career potential and to give back to the communities in which they live. While we are not a part of Screen Actors Guild, we are dedicated to serving its members.
From the Board of Directors to staff to volunteers, the SAG Foundation’s diverse makeup is a large component of this non-profit 501(c)(3) organization’s success. Governed independently of the Guild, the non-political, non-partisan SAG Foundation is a collective body bringing different personalities, attitudes and opinions together in service of actors who, like us, come from all walks of life.
Chances are that we’ve already helped you, or someone you know, with financial assistance in a time of crisis, scholarship monies, efforts we make toward children’s literacy, time spent in the Actors Center (the only resource center of its kind in Los Angeles), or seminars, workshops and other career-informing events. In any case, please visit our website at SAGFoundation.org to find out more about us.
Our work is rewarding, but not easy. Our programs and benefits are supported not by your Guild membership dues or fees but by grants, donations and our own fund-raising efforts. Resources are limited and times have been exceptionally hard. Our Emergency Assistance program, overtaxed by such economic blows as the Writers Guild strike, which put countless actors out of work, has far exceeded its budget and the livelihood of the SAG Foundation as a whole is in delicate balance.
It takes an actor to understand an actor’s struggle. Most of us at the SAG Foundation are actors, and by learning more about the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, we hope you will gain a greater understanding of our work and what it takes to keep us going. Your tax-deductible donation can make a huge difference in the life of a fellow actor. You can donate online whenever you wish, make automatic monthly donations or send us a check made payable to Screen Actors Guild Foundation. You also can think about residual checks, no matter what their size, which might benefit your peers if you sign them over to the foundation as a charitable contribution.
Meanwhile, we also encourage you as a SAG member to think about the services we make available in support of your own career. Knowing, understanding and giving to the SAG Foundation is an investment not just in the foundation’s livelihood, but in yours.
Screen Actors Guild Foundation
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 124
Los Angeles, CA 90036
phone: (323) 549-6708
Check the back side of your Screen Actors Guild membership card, and you’ll see the most important rule by which SAG members must abide. Rule 1 states that no member shall work for or agree to work for a producer who is not signatory to the appropriate SAG agreement. Since January 1, 2009, Rule 1 is being vigorously enforced in new media.
New media means the Internet, cell phones, PDAs and any other technology that may be invented in the future. That means every time you work on a project intended for new media, you need to be covered by a union contract. Being covered by a SAG contract right from the start is a good thing, because in new media, you never know where you’ll find an audience or how successful a project may become.
We can provide more information and answer your specific questions at email@example.com or (323) 549-6777.
The 2002 worldwide expansion of Rule 1, now known as Global Rule 1, produced nearly $500 million in SAG member earnings and $23 million in contributions to SAG pension and health funds. When actors stick together, we all win. Setting standards in new media will be challenging and only can be accomplished with member solidarity.
About 400 members attended the Hollywood Holiday Host Committee's annual SAG Awards viewing party January 25 at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.
Pictured, back row, are Co-Chair Warren Berlinger, Hank Garrett, Tim Pfeiffer, James St. James, Chair Anthony DeSantis, John Clenton and Frank Corso. Pictured on the front row are Ceasar Barajas and Jackie Goldberg.
Monday, March 9 – Hollywood Division open board meeting, James Cagney Board Room, 6 p.m. A light meal will be provided. Reservation is required.
Monday, March 9 – Actors Work Program orientation – group and individual career counseling, job training and education, financial assistance, and job placement services, 1-2:30 p.m. The Actors Fund, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400. For more information, contact (323) 933-9244, ext. 50, or actorsfund.org.
Tuesday, March 10 – "Alternatives to Foreclosure" webinar presented by the Actors Fund, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Get FREE information from a HUD-certified non-profit counseling agency. Help deal with your lender, avoid scams, understand your rights and options, best preserve your credit score and try to save your home. Access to high-speed internet is required. Please contact Tina Abas Hookom, LCSW at the Actors Fund to pre-register: (323) 933-9244, ext. 13, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Open to all professionals in entertainment and the performing arts. Click here for flyer.
Thursday, March 12 – Low budget contracts signatory workshops, James Cagney Board Room. 6-8 p.m. Reservation is required by visiting sagindie.org or by calling (323) 549-6064. (Please be sure to include name and e-mail address.)
Thursday, March 12 – National Kidney Foundation’s Nationwide KEEP (Kidney Early Evaluation Program) mini-screenings. Free 15- to 20-minute mini-screenings include blood pressure cuff, finger prick, and health questionnaire. 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Guys North, 12655 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604. For more information, please contact Steve Wilson or Emily Davis at BWR Public Relations at (310) 550-7776 or email@example.com or edavis@bwr.-la.com.
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Tuesday, March 17 – Film Society applications available. See movies for less than $2 each! Visit the Hollywood page of the website after March 10 to download the application.
Monday, March 23 – Actors Work Program orientation – group and individual career counseling, job training and education, financial assistance, and job placement services, 1-2:30 p.m. The Actors Fund, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400. For more information, contact (323) 933-9244, ext. 50, or actorsfund.org.
March 25 – iActor Resume workshop, 7-9 p.m., James Cagney Board Room. Come get advice on transforming you resume from just a list of work into an invaluable marketing tool from an Industry professional. To RSVP e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, March 25 – "Alternatives to Foreclosure" webinar presented by the Actors Fund, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Get FREE information from a HUD-certified non-profit counseling agency. Help deal with your lender, avoid scams, understand your rights and options, best preserve your credit score and try to save your home. Access to high-speed internet is required. Please contact Tina Abas Hookom, LCSW at the Actors Fund to pre-register: (323) 933-9244, ext. 13, or email@example.com. Open to all professionals in entertainment and the performing arts. Click here for flyer.
Monday, March 30 – Actors Work Program orientation – group and individual career counseling, job training and education, financial assistance, and job placement services, 1-2:30 p.m. The Actors Fund, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400. For more information, contact (323) 933-9244, ext. 50, or actorsfund.org.
April 1 and 15 – Monthly member orientation program for new and longtime SAG members. Learn about all your Guild has to offer and tips to help your career. Orientations are held every month. See website for future dates.
April 23 – iActor Upload and Personal, hands-on training, 10:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m., Bella Bruck Conference Room. Come let our experts help you create your iActor profile. To RSVP e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
** SAVE THE DATE **
The SAG Foundation invites you and a guest to learn about SAG's rich 75-year history at a free four-part screening of Behind the Masks-The Story of Screen Actors Guild.
When: Every Tuesday in the month of April
April 7, 14, 21, 28 5:30-7 p.m.
April 7, part one shown at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
April 14, part two shown at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
April 21, part three shown at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
April 28, part four shown at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: SAG Headquarters
5757 Wilshire Boulevard
James Cagney Boardroom
Parking in the building lot will be validated. No RSVP required, seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring your current SAG card for admission.
Copies of the four disc documentary will be available for purchase for a donation to SAG Foundation of $100. Cash, checks or money orders only please.
For more information, please contact the Hollywood Executive Office at (323) 549-6459.
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The above listings are subject to change. Check SAG.org Hollywood Page for the most up-to-date information. New events, workshops, seminars, panels and discounts are added weekly.
If you’d like more information on an event and there is no contact information listed above, call the Hollywood Executive Office at (323) 549-6459.
Visit thesagshop.com for the latest in must-have, union-made merchandise. Buy gifts and accessories that demonstrate your good taste and your union pride.
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