There back! You remember them the Restore Respect leaders Melissa “Union Busters” Gilbert and Mike “Misanthrope” Farrell, and they are hard at work to undermine any chance of SAG getting a decent contract from the AMPTP.
The following email is being forwarded by Keri Tombazian. You, remember her, she’s the gal that stated, something along the line, that anyone that was the enemy of producers was not her friend.
On Feb 14, 2008, at 7:21 AM, Keri Tombazian wrote:
From our former SAG President, Melissa Gilbert.
The writer’s strike appears to be over, thank God, so the industry can begin to crank up again and put people back to work.
As you know, the potential fly in the ointment at this point is the possibility of an actor’s strike. Yes, that sounds crazy given what we’ve been through, but strike talk, tough talk about “a hard line,” has been the position of SAG’s President Alan Rosenberg and National Executive Director Doug Allen for over a year now.
Here’s what’s happening. First, George Clooney, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are placing an ad in the trades. Next, Tom Hanks and George Clooney are submitting an op-ed piece to the L.A. Times. In both instances, they’re calling for SAG’s President Alan Rosenberg and the leaders of the AMPTP to JUST TALK NOW.
The next day, many highly visible actors will send letters, emails and make calls to Rosenberg, with a copy to NED Doug Allen, and also to members of the AMPTP, saying the same thing. A day later, more letters, email and calls, and so on.
No one wants to undercut our negotiators’ ability to make the best deal possible, but neither do we need to waste time with posturing and saber rattling. The pattern has been established by the hard work of the DGA and WGA, now it’s time for SAG to make it right for the actors.
There is precedent for starting informal talks. In fact the DGA began informal talks last summer. They went in formally last month and had a deal within six days.
If you want to help, send a letter or an email or call Alan Rosenberg, Doug Allen and the AMPTP members ( Peter Chernin, Les Moonves, Bob Iger, Barry Meyer etc.) as soon as George, Tom, Robert and Meryl’s ad is out. Tell them all that they need to sit down and JUST TALK NOW.
Alan Rosenberg: (323) 549-6675 SAG DougAllen’s email:
Hughie21@sag.org email DAllen@sag.org
If you have any questions or you need talking points don’t hesitate to contact one of us.
Melissa Gilbert and Mike Farrell
Melissa’s email: email@example.com Mike’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And here you thought this was some sort of spontaneous event, rather than an organized plan to undermine SAG negotiations by giving the AMPTP the impression that all of our high-profile members, have no stomach for strike, and want to get back to work, no matter how lousy the contract.
You don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that once you take the strike card off the table, it is no longer collective bargaining but rather collective begging.
But, hey, email Melissa and Mike and get those TALKING POINTS because this ain’t about informing the membership it’s about SELLING them on Melissa and gangs’ agenda. “Less Dues, More Muscle!” Ooops, wrong talking point.
Hmmmm, here’s a question for Melissa. If early bargaining is such a good idea, why did her and her Restore Respect/USAN pals end up getting some of the worst contracts in recent SAG History, including the 2004 extension with one of lowest increases in minimums–a Lousy 2.5%. Oh, and let’s not forget that the first giveback in residuals occurred under Melissa’s reign during one of those early negotiated Restore Respect/USAN contracts.
Here’s that ad that will precede the op-ed piece– that I’m sure, the LA Times will be more than happy to publish, much to the delight of the folks who keep their Calendar Section chuck full of all those glorious paid for movie ads.
Now, even if we give actor/producers George Clooney, Smokehouse Productions; Robert DeNiro, Tribeca Film Center; Tom Hanks Playtone Productions, the benefit of the doubt, and accept that their actions are motivated by concern for fellow SAG actors, rather than concerns about their production companies, it’s hard to believe that they are nave enough not to realize how their public statement urging early talks will hurt SAG’s chances of getting a fair deal.
Assuming they are not complete air heads, do they for a moment believe that those residuals and P&H benefits that helped them survive when they were starting out in this business, came from EARLY NEGOTIATIONS?
No, they came because our Predecessors were willing to stand up to employers, and yes strike to get them.
Dear Melissa, of course, would dismiss them as “hardliners,” but I bet Half-Pint sure enjoyed those residuals that those “hardliners” sacrificed to get for her.
It is the Ol’ Dog’s considered opinion that Clooney, DeNiro, Hanks, and Streep don’t give a rats ass about anyone but themselves. If they were so against waiting to negotiate, why weren’t they critical of the WGA? Huh? Their writer friends wouldn’t have liked it? Right!
So what they are, in essence, saying is, look, we’re tired, this is getting old, SAG take what the DGA and WGA got. Forget the fact that it might be a lousy contract, we want to get back to work.
Look, if these four really cared about their guild, they wouldn’t be publicly undermining SAG negotiation strategies, but rather they would have called SAG President Alan Rosenberg and said what’s the plan, how can we help get the best deal possible for our fellow SAG members.
But the sad truth of the matter is none of these public whiners are made of the same union cloth as a Cagney, Montgomery or Cantor.
Certainly, none of them will have a room named after them at the Screen Actors Guild. What, the AMPTP? Now, there’s a thought!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
To leave on a positive note, yes, there are high-profile members that won’t sell out their fellow SAG members for a headline. And one of them is SAG Board Member, and Ralph Morgan winner, Scott Wilson, who along with long time board member, Yale Summers, has gone public with his feelings concerning recent events!
Their gutsy quotes, in the following Variety article, shows that there is still hope for our union, and that there are still heroes among us! If only, now, more of them would speak up!
AMPTP ready to bargain with SAG
Move follows announcement of celeb concerns
By DAVE MCNARY
Turning up the pressure on SAG to start contract talks as soon as possible, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers has announced that it’s ready to begin bargaining.
SAG, which faces a June 30 contract expiration, responded by telling the AMPTP not to hold its breath — leaving the moguls baffled as to what to expect from the actors in the wake of the bruising 100-day WGA strike.
SAG national exec director Doug Allen remained noncommittal Thursday as to when the guild will be ready, repeating an earlier declaration: “We will be ready to begin negotiations at the time that most benefits our members.”
Allen also noted SAG’s currently engaged in its “wages and working conditions” process of holding meetings with members in which bargaining proposals are suggested and developed from the grassroots.
“We are not going to disregard our 34-year history of identifying the wishes and will of our members by subverting the W&W process,” Allen added. “Wages and working conditions meetings are being held now and will likely conclude in March.”
The AMPTP’s announcement came as Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep joined George Clooney in an effort to push SAG to launch contract talks as soon as possible to avert a strike.
“The difficulty is high, but nothing can be solved until both parties agreed to sit down together and just talk,” the quartet said in a display ad in Daily Variety.
“Not later, but now. There’s too much at stake to wait. It’s our hope that both parties can at least agree on that.”
Allen had said in an earlier statement Wednesday that the guild’s been seeking out high-profile members as it preps for the talks.
In another development Thursday night, WGA West president Patric Verrone emailed SAG members to thank them for their support during the WGA strike. He pledged that WGA members will return that support, and he urged SAG to support Allen and guild president Alan Rosenberg in the face of moves by the companies to foster dissent.
“Any union’s bargaining strength is a function of what management thinks of its members’ determination and its leadership’s approval,” Verrone said. “Alan and Doug have been thoughtful and tenacious leaders throughout their tenures, and I implore you to give them your faith, your resolve and your patience in the months ahead. The more you trust them to do their job, the better they can do it. What the Writers Guild accomplished this year was the result of our internal solidarity, as well as support from sister guilds and unions nationwide, led by yours.”
Meanwhile, AFTRA has disclosed that top execs at the performers unions are planning to be ready to start negotiations by March 31, but that depends on SAG and AFTRA sorting out details of joint bargaining.
Leaders of SAG and AFTRA will meet this weekend with AFL-CIO execs on joint-bargaining issues, two weeks after the labor federation granted AFTRA a direct charter.
The AMPTP did not elaborate on its statement Thursday. But a source familiar with the studios’ thinking said there’s nothing that prevents early discussions other than SAG’s willingness to engage, noting that the DGA — which also faced a June 30 expiration — was prepared and willing to negotiate a deal last month after the WGA talks collapsed in December.
The DGA’s deal, which was blasted by SAG leaders two weeks ago, wound up serving as the template for the WGA’s agreement, with many of the latter’s new-media provisions mirroring the directors’ deal. SAG has not yet commented on the terms of the WGA deal.
While the town’s upbeat amid the end of the WGA strike, worries about SAG have been percolating. The settlement of the WGA deal’s removed some of SAG’s leverage, but studios are staying cautious about moving ahead on feature development until the uncertainty surrounding the SAG deal has been sorted out.
And SAG leaders don’t want to back off from a strike threat. Allen has insisted that the guild has to go into negotiations with that threat in its arsenal.
“Having the capacity and will to strike when companies are intransigent is something a union has to have; otherwise, you’re engaged in collective begging,” Allen said last month.
In addition, the effort by Clooney to push for talks as soon as possible is rubbing some SAG board members the wrong way. Hollywood rep Yale Summers sent out an email message Thursday that blasted the move by the four stars as “disgraceful.”
“When our most successful performers, who don’t really need their union any more, rise up to say publicly that they want us to ‘settle’ quickly because they are strike-weary, they are deserting the actors they used to be as well as deserting those who may one day achieve a similar star status,” he said. “No one, from top to bottom, wants a strike! We will do whatever we can to avoid one. We cannot, however, allow our sole potential weapon to be removed from our meager quiver, leaving it empty! For those of you at the top, those for whom your union does not need to negotiate, to cry out to the press rather than coming to your union to air your concerns is disgraceful!”
Right on, Yale!
SAG board members based in Hollywood also are perturbed over recent efforts to institute “qualified voting” — an earnings requirement for members to vote on the SAG contract and whether to go on strike. Those behind that effort, which has gained support from Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Teri Hatcher and Charlie Sheen, contend that SAG members who don’t work have a disproportionate influence over members who do.
The group, which has gathered more than 800 supporters, had asserted that imposition of qualified voting would enable SAG to present the strongest possible position at negotiations.
But such an effort’s regarded as a longshot since it would probably require changing the SAG constitution — meaning that members would have to vote to disenfranchise themselves. In addition, Hollywood board member Scott Wilson — who won last year’s Ralph Morgan Award for service to the guild — said the effort’s misguided.
“It saddens me to think that, if what we read is true, some of our highest profile members may have forgotten where they came from and abandoned their roots,” Wilson said. “They take positions on issues that no longer affect them but have a devastating impact on rank-and-file members and, dare I say, they are ill informed on the issues.”
Wilson, whose credits run from “In the Heat of the Night” through “Junebug,” called qualified voting a “red herring” that distracts from issues such as AFTRA signing cable deals at lower terms than SAG.
“Qualified voting will not stop the international conglomerates that own the studios, networks and cable channels from seeking further rollbacks or denying fairer terms in collective bargaining,” he added. “Should we have a system that gives all the voting power to a small group of members over matters of importance to all members whether directly or indirectly?”
Like, I said a couple of SAG Heroes.
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All Formatting is the Watchdog’s!
“If there is no perception of a deadline, there’s little inducement for taking action, much less for accommodation and compromise.”
(Renowned negotiator Herb Cohen from his book “Negotiate This.)