Actors' Union Urges Members To Wait For New Dealby Contributor | 02 September 2008
The Screen Actors' Guild (SAG) has contacted its 120,000 members begging them to demand a better contract from Hollywood studios.
The film and television industry is fearful of a repeat of the writers' strike that crippled Tinseltown for three months earlier this year as the SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) struggle to reach agreement on a new contract.
While the writers' and directors' guild, as well as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) eventually sealed new agreements regarding remuneration for the redistribution of work on the internet, DVDs and mobile phones, SAG-AMPTP negotiations have stumbled since their original contract expired on July 1st.
In a bid to convince its members to press for a more satisfactory agreement, SAG chiefs sent a 14-page newsletter to its members this weekend, entitled 'Your negotiating committee fights on to achieve a fair contract'.
The missive contained articles such as 'The beginning of the end of residuals' and 'Why can't SAG just give in?' and also includes a polling card calling on members to vote to continue negotiations or accept the final AMPTP offer.
In response, the AMPTP has called the SAG's postcard polling a "delay tactic".
"In fact, the SAG's postcard 'poll' appears to be designed to deliver just one thing: a result pre-ordained by the SAG's negotiators," an AMPTP statement said.
"With four new contracts this year, the producers and the other Hollywood guilds have moved on, and we are now back to work," the producers continued.
"The longer the SAG's negotiators hold out, the more SAG members will lose out on the new-media rights and residuals, salary, pension and other increases in the producers' $250 million (£139.8 million) final offer."