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.”
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, corporate/educational, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.