SAG and AFTRA Merger Ballots Will Be Counted March 30 as Scheduled
Los Angeles (March 28, 2012) – Federal Judge James Otero today denied the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction in Sheen v SAG clearing the way for Screen Actors Guild’s merger referendum ballot counting to go forward as scheduled on Friday, March 30.
The Judge’s ruling read in part, “Voting in favor of merger may or may not be in the best interest of the majority of Union Members. But the decision, for better or worse, belongs to the Members – not to Plaintiffs, and certainly not to the Court.” He also stated that, “It appears that SAG’s democratic process is functioning properly.”
As to the question of Pension and Health benefits, the Court ruled, “Although diminution of health and pension benefits is a serious matter, Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that such harm is likely to occur upon merger.”
Judge Otero also dismissed one of the four remaining causes of action. He decided not to dismiss the other three claims based on the legal presumption in favor of plaintiffs on a motion to dismiss, but found in his ruling on the injunction that the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail on those claims.
SAG Deputy National Executive Director and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said, “We are pleased with the court’s action denying the requested injunction and dismissing one of the plaintiff’s major claims in this matter. We are are also gratified that the court has indicated that the plaintiffs are unlikely to prevail on their other claims. It has been our position all along that these complaints were completely without merit and that the members will ultimately decide the future of their unions.”