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Just the facts: Watchdog Interactive referendum facts that you won’t get from SAG’s Current Leadership: Fact: If EVERY Hollywood member that voted had voted for the strike referendum, it still wouldn’t have passed!

April 19, 2005 (20:21) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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Fact: 82.6% of all vidgame earnings are generated in Hollywood. ($4.1 million) Next on the totem pole NY, 12%, with $611 thousand dollars.

Fact: AFTRA has NEVER provided statistics on how much their earnings are from Interactive contracts! When pushed for an answer a SAG senior staffer stated that it was about two-to-one, SAG over AFTRA.!

FACT: Hollywood YES on the strike vote was 65.77% NY was 52.83%.

FACT: SF voted NO by 60% to 40% and their total earnings are an anemic $20,579, or Just 4% of all earnings.

FACT: Nationwide, taking out NY and LA, the rest of the country makes only 5% of all the earnings!

Fact: Hollywood members were mailed 71.4% of the total ballots even though they make 82.6% of the earnings.

FACT: Even if Hollywood had voted UNANIMOUSLY for a strike authorization, it would not have passed!

FACT: Both Presidents gave their support to the negotiating committee when it decided to seek a strike authorizationand then not only withdrew their support and refused to help promote a YES vote in any way, but in fact manipulated their statements to the voters in a way to support the NO vote!

FACT: The ONLY reason the negotiating committee voted YES (reluctantly) was because of NED Hessinger’s statement that current SAG signatories would be able to hire SAG members on non-union projects if there is no new contract and that there would be nothing SAG could do about it. SAG could not enforce RULE ONE because of Federal Labor Law and that punishing actors for working non-union in the wake of a failed strike vote would be “ILLEGAL.” And, Yes, those on the negotiating committee insist that he used THAT word. And that “At the caucus and at the NEC he completely changed his story – he said, “No, what I said was that IN MY OPINION any actor who would be brought up on charges for working non-union [for former SAG signatories on non-union games] would have a case to challenge this with the Department of Labor.”

FACT: Had the negotiating committee been told that there were NO LAWS, that there was NOTHING ILLEGAL, that the Department of Labor WOULD NOT interfere on this and that all of this was just Greg’s OPINION (speculation, really)– the committee would have voted unanimously to REJECT the contract proposal.

FACT: All things being equal, if this contract proposal had gone out to the “affected’ members for ratification, it would have been overwhelmingly rejected 61% to 39%. Those voting mandating that the leadership take the proposal back to the bargaining table to get a better deal!

OPINION: Therefore, by rejecting this proposal isn’t the NEC just following the overwhelming voice of the voters? Maybe they aren’t ready to strike yet, but 66 percent in Hollywood and 61% nationwide also aren’t ready to accept the current proposal. So, it’s imperative that SAG immediately demands that the vidgamers return to the bargaining table.

If they refuse, return to ALL the voters. This time with EVERYONE on board—and as they have ALWAYS done under similar circumstances in the past, the membership will overwhelming back an assured leadership!

A.L, Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

All Watchdog facts are supported by written documents and statements. Watchdog opinion is of course sacrosanct! B)

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Variety’s Hatchet Job on Membership First! P*sses Off the Ol’ Watchdog!

April 19, 2005 (20:21) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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Either Variety Reporter Ben Fritz is a Labor Expert– or he has just done a complete Hatchet Job on Membership First with the help of Melissa Gilbert’s Restore Respect gang.

Notice how Mr. Fritz makes statements without any supported documentation.

So let’s join Ben as he HACKS away at his story. The Ol’ Dog’s comments will be preceded by the Ol’ Dog icon. Mr. Fritz’s comments will also have the appropriate icon.

Posted: Tue., Jun. 21, 2005, 10:00pm PT

SAG rejects vidgame deal

Guild snag sends gamers to AFTRA

By BEN FRITZ

Thanks to a yet another rift between the dueling Membership First and Restore Respect factions in the Screen Actors Guild leadership, jurisdiction over the vidgame biz now belongs entirely to AFTRA.
.
.
.

WOOF ! Huh? Jurisdiction over the vidgame biz now belongs entirely to AFTRA. If a magazine like Variety makes such an outrageous statement as fact! I would challenge them to furnish proof! Now someone from Restore Respect or AFTRA may have spoon-fed Mr. Fritz that information– but you would think that he would have had the integrity, or smarts, to check it out before publishing as fact! Unless, of course, he had an agenda.

In a surprising conclusion to the protracted negotiations over a new interactive contract, SAG’s national executive committee voted by a narrow margin Wednesday to reject a contract that was previously recommended unanimously, though reluctantly, by a negotiating committee composed entirely of working voiceover actors. Vote came on the same day that AFTRA’s administrative committee approved the deal, meaning its members can start working under the deal beginning July 1.

WOOF ! Ah, not so fast there! According to the SAG Constitution’s Rule (9.)

“It shall be conduct unbecoming a member if the member accepts employment with an employer in the jurisdiction of another branch after having been advised by the other branch (SAG) that: (A.) The employer has refused to bargain in good faith a collective bargaining agreement with the other branch and the other branch has declared the employer unfair or has otherwise directed its members not to work for the employer;”

WOOF ! Now, most of the members that the vidgamers are gonna wanta hire are not AFTRA Only Members, but rather SAG/DUAL CARD HOLDERS! You get the picture? It would be conduct unbecoming for them to work for ANY employer in which SAG has declared it’s members not to work for the employer. Hmmm, you think even John Connolly would chance working the contract and chance losing his SAG Card? *

Rift also means union work will largely continue in the vidgame industry, but exclusively under AFTRA jurisdiction. Many thesps who work in games belong to both orgs and will thus now work under AFTRA, meaning all pension and health contributions will go to that union and not SAG.
.


WOOF ! Well, we’ve already proved that’s a bonehead statement. But, I do love the little Restore Respect/Merger propaganda touch there at the end. So who do you think gave Young Ben the info about the PH contributions going to AFTRA and not SAGah, or do you think he is not only an expert on labor law but PH. I gotta tell you Variety has got a real find in this guy.

SAG rules require that 60% of its national executive committee, a subset of the national board, vote to ratify the contract. But while a majority affiliated with SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert’s Restore Respect group voted in favor, the Membership First coalition voted against the deal, denying the needed supermajority.

WOOF ! Is it any wonder that Melissa and her New York and branch pals voted for the contract, they were the ones who shot down the strike referendum. Remember this vote was not so much a Restore Respect/ Membership First Battle, but a Hollywood/NewYork and the branches battle. Hollywood was for the strike authorization! New York and the branches opposed. Look, the Hollywood voters were for the strike authorization. 66% voted YES! And this without the support of Melissa and Hessinger! And without affording those who represented the Official SAG position with the resources that would have been used if the current leadership had supported it! We all remember the Consolidation onslaught. The strike suthorization would have been a slamdunk if afforded one tenth the resources. Hell, they wouldn’t even let them send out a lousy email to correct the lies being circulated on the internet.

It’s unclear what next steps, if any, SAG can take. With AFTRA onboard, it’s extremely unlikely reps for the vidgame industry will be willing to renegotiate with SAG. A previous strike authorization vote held among guild members who work under the interactive contract garnered around 60% in favor, far short of the 75% supermajority needed, indicating a strike is also extremely unlikely.


WOOF ! Yikes, Ben is not only “unclear” but at the same time is a Soothsayer! Look, you don’t have to have a crystal ball to know that if SAG members and dual card members are forbidden by the SAG constitution from working these contracts that nobody will give a rats-ass about hiring AFTRA-only members?
*

Unless a new vote is held, SAG would simply be excluded from jurisdiction over interactive work for the remainder of the new contract, which lasts through the end of 2008.



WOOF ! So according to Professor Fritz we are screwed until 2008! Show me the documentation! Hey, he don’t need no stinkin’ documentation.



Aids merger push?

A split decision between SAG and AFTRA on a contract is exactly the nightmare scenario that many proponents of merging the unions had predicted and is likely to fuel further debate on whether the two orgs should join.

“This is an incredibly destructive decision to make, as our union appears to be one with which nobody can bargain in good faith,” said a SAG board member on the Restore Respect side. “The Membership First people have taken SAG out of the interactive business entirely.”


WOOF ! So, there you go, folks. Restore Respects first salvo for merger and their new election campaign, courtesy of Variety Magazine. You think that the fact CEO Bob hated Membership First, and he and Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart are Ol’ buddies has anything to do with it? Naw! Poor Fritz probably just swallowed his bubble gum! “Gosh, why did he have to mention PB, ah, I mean Mr. Bart…I mean Mr. Bart, sir!




.
In a statement, SAG exec director Greg Hessinger said only that the org would now “explore our options.”



WOOF ! Ain’t exactly a Teamsters response! Definitely nobody in Interactive circles is wrenching their hands over that one! Especially considering Mr. Hessinger’s track record at AFTRA! “Yikes! They’re gonna explore their options!” Ain’t AFTRA still doing that with CNN after 25 years?



Throughout negotiations, unions had been pushing for residuals on bestselling games, a point on which the industry proved unwilling to budge. When membership failed to authorize a strike, the negotiating committee unanimously voted to take the vidgame publishers’ last offer, which included a 36% pay hike and other minor concessions.


WOOF ! Look, this whole “affected” members only strike authorization was a sham! The SAG constitution states clearly in Article VIII, section (5) that…

The words “member, members or membership,” as used in this Article and ARTICLES III, V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XVII, and XVIII are limited to members whose dues have been paid up in accordance with the following requirement.all members shall be eligible to vote whose current dues are paid as of a date thirty (30) days prior to the date of the mailing of the ballots to the membership.

WOOF ! You’ll notice that Article X11 is among those articles referenced. And article XII states very clearly that

“Except as provided in ARTICLE XI, Section 3,* the Board of Directors shall have the right to call a strike of the members against all or a given producer or producers of motion pictures, but only either (a) on written vote therefor of seventy-five percent (75%) of the members voting on the question, at a meeting for such purpose, or (b) by written vote of seventy-five percent (75%) of the members voting thereon, in a mailed ballot.”

(*Sec. 3 has to do with a Phase One agreement which this was not.)

WOOF ! So there you go! Article XII talks about members voting thereon in a mailed ballot! And Article VIII clearly states that when the word members is used it refers to those who are dues currentand all shall be eligible to vote. Yet, our cracker jack legal staff with I suppose some high-level prodding allowed the strike referendum to go out to those members that they determined were “affected” members. Hey what the heck, it’s only our constitution, right? I’m sure there are some of our readers saying “Dog if this is true why don’t you go to the labor board?” Been there done that! The labor board don’t get involved in constitutional stuff or referendum stuff! Of course, I was told that I could go to district court and file a civil lawsuit. Yeah, right! That takes around twenty grand for starters! So much for members’ rights!

`

Better organization
At the same time, SAG and AFTRA leadership pledged to work to better organize the vidgame biz, in which only 10% to 15% of v.o. work is done under union jurisdiction, and make residuals the top priority for the next contract.

Most insiders had expected the deal to pass after it got the nod from negotiators, but discontent apparently came to a head at an informational meeting Monday night. According to accounts from the Membership First side, some negotiators indicated they felt misled by Hessinger, who had indicated that if the contract was rejected, SAG would be in violation of federal labor law if it attempted to discipline members who worked without a contract.

After learning that might not be true, some negotiators apparently indicated they would have voted differently had they known that, thus raising the ire of Membership First leaders who ultimately voted against the contract on the national executive committee.

It’s believed that many SAG and AFTRA members already work for vidgame publishers that aren’t union signatories, however, it’s difficult to identify and discipline actors based on their voices.

WOOF ! Unfortunately, those who are clever enough to screw their union by doing non-union work are also clever enough to go fi-core! And that’s another problem we are going to have to face sooner or later.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/story.asp?l=story&a=VR1117924884&c=1236

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Okay, maybe, the Ol’ Dog was a bit hard on Mr. Fritz. He did get some of the story about the info meeting correct! Granted, I was p*ssed after first reading his story. Maybe, he’s new at his job and don’t know that you don’t take other peoples statements as facts unless they have the goods to back their statements up! You see he can just print it and folks believe it, but by the time the Ol’ Dog has to disprove it with documentation, you get a post like this– longer than a unraveled package of Charmin.

Oh, well now that its after 4:00 AM and the Ol’ Dog is on a roll, so to speak, it seems proper to declare in the immortal words of Joe E. Lewis, “It’s post time!” *toast

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !


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Yet another Watchdog Exclusive It’s a big fat NO to the vid-game contract. SAG’s National Executive Committee does not approve the tenative agreement.

April 19, 2005 (20:21) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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In a June 9th 2005 Hollywood Reporter article headlined “Reluctant Actors OK Game Deal,” Jesse Hiestand wrote:

“The agreement must still be approved by SAG’s National Executive Committee and AFTRA’s National Administrative Committee, both of which are set to meet in the next few weeks!”

Well, apparently those actors were more reluctant than believed as in a meeting today SAG’s National Executive Committee did not approve the agreement.

This following a fiery Interactive Info Meeting last night in which a question asked by a SAG member elicited a response that caused an uproar.

The question stemmed from a report in a negotiating committee email that revealed that the contract was reluctantly Okayed after SAG NED Greg Hessinger had stated that if the negotiation committee voted “NO” then SAG would be in violation of federal labor law if they disciplined any actors working on non-union productions that up until now had been SAG signatories.

The questioner asked, “What federal law was Mr. Hessinger citing?”

Mr. Hessinger denied the statement, and then after some hemming and hawing proclaimed that he presumed that a good lawyer could argue under Rule One that SAG could be prevented from disciplining SAG members working for non-signatories.

Well, when a couple of negotiating members on the dais heard this, they declared in no uncertain terms that if they had known this, it would have changed their vote.

It also appears that the qualified voting strike authorization referendum not only violated the SAG Constitution, but the Labor Disclosure act of 1959 and California Corporation Law.

It was also revealed at the info meeting that only 33% of the “affected” SAG members that received a ballot voted. The national strike vote was 61% to 39% in favor of the authorization while in Hollywood it was 66% in favor and 34% against.

More on this later! SAG Spokesperson Seth Oster is expected to release a statement later this evening. We will put it up when we get it!

A.L Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

*

SAG Press Release

National Executive Committee Votes Down Interactive Media Contract

Los Angeles (June 21, 2005) — The National Executive Committee of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today voted to formally reject a new Interactive Media contract negotiated with video game companies. SAG’s current three-year Interactive contract expired on May 13, 2005. SAG’s National Executive Committee had been designated by the Guild national board to consider the tentative agreement, which was reached on June 8.

The agreement had been jointly negotiated with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). AFTRA’s National Administrative Committee approved the deal last week, and it will go into effect for their members on July 1, 2005.

“The video game market has grown to be enormously profitable, and our members have played a tremendous role in generating those profits,” said SAG National Executive Director/CEO Greg Hessinger. “The bargaining committee and staff of Screen Actors Guild worked extremely hard over the course of many months to negotiate fairer terms and conditions for the actors who do this work. While the tentative agreement they reached included several key gains, the Guild’s National Executive Committee has made the final determination that this proposal was not enough. We will now explore our options.”

Negotiations on new Interactive Media Agreements began between the unions and video game companies in February 2005, before breaking off on May 13 when a strike authorization vote was called. Before the authorization vote tally was concluded on June 8, a tentative agreement between the producers and unions was reached. That tentative agreement would have covered the next three-and-a-half years, and included a 36 percent increase in minimum pay over the term as well as increases in benefit contributions. However, the producers refused the unions’ demands for implementation of a residual model that would allow actors to share in the enormous revenues generated by the video games they perform in.

On the other hand:

AFTRA RATIFIES NEW CONTRACT WITH VIDEO GAME PRODUCERS

Moves to Organize Work for Performers in Growing Interactive Game Industry

Los Angeles (June 21, 2005) The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today announced the ratification of a new contract with video game companies covering performers in interactive games. The new three-and-a-half year agreement — reached after three months of bargaining and just before the results of a strike authorization vote were to be announced — includes a 36 percent increase in minimum pay over the term of the contract, with 25 percent to be immediately implemented. In addition, the pact contains significant increases in benefit contributions, as well as greater protections for the performers who do this work.

The AFTRA Administrative Committee voted to approve the deal at its June 16 meeting. Despite the fact that negotiations were held jointly and that both the SAG and AFTRA Negotiating Committees unanimously recommended the final package, the same tentative agreement that the AFTRA Administrative Committee accepted, SAG’s National Executive Committee failed to ratify. The Interactive Media Agreements do not fall under the unions’ Phase One to Merger structure.

AFTRA National President John P. Connolly noted, “It is unfortunate that our brothers and sisters at the Screen Actors Guild have chosen another path. We have stood together throughout this process and this deal was shaped with the input and support of both the AFTRA and SAG members of the Committees. I want to commend the AFTRA Committee, which stepped up and shouldered the responsibility of making the difficult choices presented in this negotiation. The AFTRA Administrative Committee supported their analysis and ratified the deal. AFTRA will now move forward and implement this contract that provides work for performers, and a 35% wage increase, in a growing industry. It is through organizing that we will achieve the density necessary to demand and receive the residuals working performers so justly deserve.”

The AFTRA contract, covering voice-over actors, singers, dancers, and performance capture performers, among others, will become effective July 1, 2005, and remain in full force until December 31, 2008. The previous agreement initially expired on December 31, 2004, but was extended several times as negotiations continued.

Highlights of the agreement include:

* An immediate 25 percent increase in minimum wages from $556 to $695 for a four-hour session for up to three voices with increases in subsequent years, bringing the daily rate up to $759.

* Double-time pay after six hours (previously ten hours) for three-voice performers.

* A 7.5 percent increase in contributions to the union’s Health & Retirement plans, bringing the rate up to 14.3 percent.

* 15-25 percent gains in rates for remote delivery and integration.

* Payment to actors for reuse of performances in promotional films longer than 12 minutes.

* A specified rest period for each hour spent recording.

* Payment window shortened from 30 to 12 business days.

* Pre-work notification to actors performing in stressful sessions.

Kinda reminds you of the ATA/NATR deal don’t it! Yes, unfortunately, AFTRA is the ultimate “go-along-to-get-along” union. Ah, and look what it has done for them.

The question is: Now that we have their head man will he do the same thing for us? Hmmmm….

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Bulletin Yet another, SAG Watchdog Worldwide exclusive! Governator agrees to toe SAG line

April 19, 2005 (20:21) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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As, you may remember the Ol’ Dog, thanks to a top-notch source, broke the World wide exclusive story that high-profile SAG member and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had appeared in a non-union paid political announcement that used non-union actors.

This story was picked up by the national press, and ultimately forced the SAG leadership to issue a statement admonishing the governor for his participation in the non-union paid political announcement. (Although they did give him a “technicality” pass!)


THERE IS GOOD NEWS TONIGHT!

And that is, that once the SAG staff, (which had been aware for sometime of the Governors non-union spot) finally confronted his people on the matter, they and SAG finally reached an agreement!

The Governor’s people have agreed that henceforth


..ALL OF HIS PAID POLITICAL ANNOUNCEMENTS WILL BE AS A SAG SIGNATORY !!

Congratulations to the SAG staff negotiator! And to be fair to the Gov, until this recent indiscretion, apparently all of his spots were union! This spot could have been an anomalyand perhaps Governor Schwarzenegger was not aware that the spot was non-union.

At least, I’d like to think so. Uh, after all a guy who smokes stogies can’t be all bad. Huh, what about Castro? Hmmmif he were shipping me a box of Monte Cristo number #2’s every week that would be a tough call.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

*up *Chalk this up to a victory for our membership! Instead of future jobs that might have gone to non-union actors, those jobs will go to our members! *money Whoof! Whoof!

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This post has got a BIG ONE A Bundle of SAG news with Shocking revelations and eye-popping insights that you’ll only get on the Ol’ Watchdog!

April 19, 2005 (20:21) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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First on the agenda, SAG VP Anne Marie Johnson speaks out about the vid-game agreement: this from the Hollywood Call Sheet email.

June 15th, 2005

A MESSAGE FROM 1ST NATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT ANNE-MARIE JOHNSON

Hello, Hollywood Members:

For a month and a half, I had been following the great work of the Hollywood members of the Interactive Negotiating Committee. Their vast experience in this area and tireless dedication was awe-inspiring. I strongly supported the clear majority of voice-over performers in their refusal of the proposed contract, and I strongly supported a strike vote. Members are not making realistic wages in this special area of work. But unfortunately, due to lukewarm support from both of our unions’ presidents and conflicting messages from some SAG staff, our interactive performers may have to spend the next four years with a contract with no residuals. It is estimated that interactive games make over $25 billion a year. Here we go again, behind the eight ball. Can you say “cable and DVD residuals”? SAG members have power to change this!

So, it’s a new day and we are facing a new battle. Our Animation Contract is due to expire June 30. Our SAG Hollywood Animation Negotiating Committee is working hard to negotiate a better contract. Basic cable residuals in this contract haven’t changed in 20 years. The time for change is now!

There will be an animation caucus open to all interested members on June 25. Log on to the SAG Web site for more information. We need to be united in this struggle.

Hope to see you at the Hollywood membership meeting July 10 at the Los Angeles Radisson Wilshire Plaza Hotel. Information is on SAG’s Web site.

Let’s stand united.

Anne-Marie Johnson

A side-note to further illustrate how our guild is being manipulated by President Gilbert and her go-along-to-get-alongers– who were against the membership okaying a strike authorization.

The Hollywood Call Sheet, which featured Ms. Johnson’s pro-strike authorization message to members, was scheduled to be released on June 2nd at the time the ballots were out to those “affected” members! Well, apparently, for some mysterious reason the Hessinger staff didn’t get out the Call Sheet, even though requested to do so, on its scheduled release date of June 2nd. Do you think it was delayed until after the voting because Melissa, Hessinger and certain senior staff wanted the strike authorization to fail? Naw!

Oh, and if you have any doubt that qualified voting is not now in full force, remember that only those members unconstitutionally judged to be affected were allowed to vote on the interactive strike referendum! Also, know that the same thing, unless stopped, is about to happen with the animation contract! And if you have any doubt who is behind this new qualified voting, you only have to read the info from both Membership First and Restore Respect.

First vice President, and Membership Firster, Anne-Marie Johnson in her email states,

“There will be an animation caucus open to all interested members on June 25. Log on to the SAG Web site for more information. We need to be united in this struggle.”

Now, read the restrictions on attendance qualified by Melissa and the current leadership:

“All paid-up SAG members who work under the Television Animation Agreement are urged to attend!”

Yep, my friends, qualified voting is now a reality in our guild! And if they, whoever they are, can without any constitutional basis decide who votes and who doesn’t, you can expect more dictates of this nature.

For instance, how about “All paid up SAG member who have agents, and have paid two thousand dollars in agent commissions in the last couple of years are invited to vote in the upcoming “give-‘em-what-they-want” ATA/NATR referendum. You other 85,000 members are invited to continue paying your dues and “shut the f**k-up!”

Or.

“All paid up SAG members who have worked under the commercial contract in the last year, and earned at least 100,000 dollars are invited to vote ‘YES’ in the upcoming “collective bargaining” agreement. Those of you who have devoted your life to being an actor, sacrificed, taken workshops, auditioned without booking,obeyed the rules etc. forget it, oh and, yeah, “shut the f**k-up!”

Now, many members reading this are probably thinking; a tad overstated Dog! Perhaps, but unless a member has the means, translation: The money, those in power can do any damn thing they want and have, and will continue to do so, unless stopped by the membership.

In an eye-opening discussion with an officer from the labor board, yours truly posed the question ” You mean that the current leadership” could ignore the constitution and decide that only TEN MEMBERS COULD VOTE on any referendum, and the labor board couldn’t do nothing about it! The response was a chilling, “YES!”

It seems that the only way a member, or members, could do anything about denied rights and constitutional malfeasance would be to file a civil suit in district court! Have you got TWENTY GRAND! *money I know I ain’t! Whoof! Whoof!

The only advice the labor guy could give me was to ‘AFFECT’ change in the guild is through elections! You have to organize and elect leadership that does not run roughshod through the constitution– but rather adheres to it for the benefit of the membership. This ain’t happening under Mr. Hessinger and Restore Respect.

And now an exclamation mark to the Governator’s non-union escapade!

Although, the current leadership is to be commended for admonishing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his recent non-union paid political announcement, that does not excuse the fact that they gave him a pass by stating that he had not technically violated SAG’s Constitution.

Well, not buying the technicality thing, the Ol’ Dog requested in writing a constitutional basis for their ‘technicality’ ruling. At first, a reliable source informed me that SAG was claiming that an eager senior staff member had found a ruling by the board from the early Nineties that gave politicians a pass on doing non-union paid political announcements. Show me the paper! No response. Then I was told by several sources that it had something to do with Charlton Heston and the NRA. Show me the paper! Again,no response!

Well, finally I got the official explanation from SAG spokesman,Seth Oster** who got it from SAG General Counsel David White! And no I ain’t got it on paper, and doubt if I ever will. Ah, anyway are you ready for the constitutional ruling that the current SAG leadership is using to give the governor, and SAG member, a pass on doing non-union work?

Ah, a warning, those of you who have devoted a lot of sweat and tears to this issue, ah, might want to have a drink before you proceedhell, I’ll join you. *toast

Are you ready? This is a Big One!

The reason the Governor and SAG member can do non-union paid political announcements is because of, Tad-Da!!!


RULE ONE !!

That’s right, kiddies, our current leadership has interpreted Rule One to mean that Da Gov can do non-union paid political announcements because he is not performing. Huh?

Rule One:

No member shall work as a performer or make an agreement to work as a performer for any producer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the Guild which is in full force and effect.

Believe it, or don’t, our present leadership has taken a rule that’s very purpose is to prohibit SAG members from doing non-union work–and turned it on its ear, using it as a tool to “technically” allow our governor to do non-union work without being brought up on charges.

The convenient reasoning goes something like this, ah, since the governor is not performing, but appearing as himself, the governor, its, ah, okay for him to appear in a non-union paid political announcement.

Of course, in making this impromptu ruling they have punctured our most sacred rule, and opened the flood-gates for other violations. So, if you are appearing as yourself in a reality show, could you not claim that you are not performing but acting as yourself. Hey, you could also do non-union commercials. “Ah, sorry, guys! I’m appearing as myself, and I ain’t performing, gee, swear to god, I really like this stuff!”

Now, in the case of the governors’s paid political announcement, he apparently is the only actor that is not performing as the rest were cast and paid for their performances. So, now, I guess the actors could claim that they weren’t really performing but acting as themselves. Hey, they really agree with the gov on that tax thing! And besides, they also drink coke! And why not it makes things go better don’t it!

Now, you might wonder who in the hell came up with this hair-brained interruptation of Rule One! Can’t say for sure, but I was told by a well-schooled AFTRA veteran that it sounded a lot like AFTRA’s take on non-union work. Hmmm?

And finally, this from Variety Magazine:

Posted: Wed., Jun. 15, 2005, 10:00pm PT

Investigation draws an OK from lensers

Guild tries to bring runaways back home

By DAVE MCNARY

Leaders of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild have reiterated their support for an investigation into the legality of foreign government film and TV subsidies designed to attract American productions.

The national exec board of the guild, which operates as Local 600 of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, passed the resolution after Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) pledged in a keynote address to support runaway production legislation in Congress to counteract the loss of jobs to foreign locales.

The board also cited a 2001 AFL-CIO resolution directing affiliates to “initiate trade cases to stop market-distorting importing of goods subsidized by our trading partners.”

Move comes a year after the Cinematographers Guild asked the Dept. of Commerce to take action against foreign film subsidies in the wake of the local’s membership voting for a slate that said it would take a more aggressive stance on runaway production.
“This resolution is what last year’s guild election results were all about,” said ICG prexy Gary Dunham. “We have affirmed our commitment to an investigation into the legality of foreign film and television production subsidies. It is time to level the playing field for our members.”

The idea of an investigation into the legality of foreign subsidies — particularly Canada’s — has long divided the town’s labor unions. AFTRA, the DGA and the national IATSE board have contended that such a strategy could backfire by leading to a trade war and further loss of jobs.

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So, AFTRA, the DGA and national IATSE boards contend that “investigation into the legality of foreign subsidies- particularly Canada…could backfire by leading to a trade war and further loss of jobs.” (Not listed in the above group, Melissa’s current SAG leadership that also espouses the same go-along-to-get-along trade-war concerns.)

Amazing, huh? What they’re saying is don’t investigate to see if the rules are being broken to the detriment of our members. Ah, you see that might p*ss off those breaking the rules! Sort of like when you were in school and you were warned not to stand up to a bully. Ah, it could lead to a fight! And we have all witnessed how our current leadership avoids confrontationeven at the expense of lousy contracts.

How about this for a new SAG Rule One. If we continue to “go-along-to-get-along” under Melissa and her leadership, the only place were going is to the dogs! Ah, Watchdogs excluded!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

*All formatting is SW’s!

** Note: Seth is great about returning phone calls which is much appreciated by the Ol’ Dog

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