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Morgan Fairchild to kick off her campaign at home of actress who doesn’t like SAG!

April 19, 2005 (20:22) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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This was posted on an Internet Bulletin Board by a established character actress:

I will be hostig (sic) a meet and greet for Morgan Fairchild and others runnig (sic) for SAG seats. My home, Sun, aug 7 2 to 4. Email me for address and directions.

In what has to be a first in SAG history, Morgan Fairchild, Melissa Gilbert disciple and SAG presidential candidate, will Kickoff her campaign in a less than auspicious manner at a meet-and-greet affair hosted by an actress who had this to say about our union on the SAG Actor Bulletin Board “I don’t like the Union. I don’t like the way it behaved in the 50’s, I don’t like having to belong to a union.”

Now this does not bode well for Ms. Fairchild and her running mates invited to this affair. The lady doesn’t like SAG and resents having to belong to it, yet she is hosting a party to promote their candidacies!

Since the hostess is not running for any office that the Ol’ Dog knows of, her name is of no importance! The fact that she has stated publicly that if she had to choose between her union or her agent “I might or might not. It would depend on many factors!” is of no importance. * Or that she supports Ms. Fairchild’s and the Restore Respect agenda of agency ownership by our employers, dissolving SAG assets and turning them over to AIMA is really not the issue here– or that she supports Ms. Fairchild’s qualified voting stance!

The important questions are: By allowing their campaign affair to be hosted by an actress with such distaste for the Screen Actors Guild have not Ms. Fairchild and her running mates tacitly endorsed those negative union sentiments? So, would they choose their agent over their union? And do they unabashedly love our great guild? Or do they share their hostess’s feelings that “emotional slobbering about the UNION is sickening!”

Perhaps, some loyal SAG member at this upcoming weekend meet-and-greet get together for Ms. Fairchild will pose such questions! I’m sure we would all like to hear her and her running mates responses.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief

* Actually, the hostess’s statement that she “might or might not” choose her agent over her union is a tad disingenuous when you consider that in a previous post she had stated, “if it comes down to leave (sic) your agency or leave you union…….. I can’t see working actors leaving an agency for a union!”

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Hollywood Reporter Blows it again with sloppy reporting! with Variety Article: SAG Members Approve Proposed Video Game Contract!

April 19, 2005 (20:22) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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SAG MEMBERS APPROVE PROPOSED VIDEO GAME CONTRACT

Los Angeles (July 28, 2005) Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members voted today by a margin of 81.2 percent to 18.8 percent to overwhelmingly approve the proposed Interactive Media Agreement recently negotiated with video game producers. In accordance with a national board decision on June 29, the referendum was sent to Screen Actors Guild performers with earnings under the previous three-year agreement with the video game industryas well as any eligible, paid-up SAG member in good standing who requested a ballot. The new contract will go into effect on Friday July 29, 2005 and run through December 31, 2008.

Of 3,373 ballots mailed, 42.8 percent were returned (1,932 ballots were sent automatically to members identified as having earnings under the previous Interactive contract; an additional 1,441 Screen Actors Guild members requested and received ballots). The agreement was jointly negotiated with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which approved the contract in June and for whom the contract has already gone into effect.

WOOF !Not quite! The referendum was supposed to be sent out to the membership WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION! This bit of information was nowhere to be found in the material sent out.

“By voting for this contract, SAG members have achieved major gains despite the fact that we were not able win in the area of residuals,” said Screen Actors Guild chief negotiator Sallie Weaver. “The interactive market is of vital importance to our membership, and SAG will spend the next three-and-a-half years devoting resources to further organize this exploding industry so that we can return to the bargaining table with renewed strength and vigor.”

WOOF !Organize, right! Just like they spent the year of the TV/Theatrical Extension organizing to get DVD!

Voting on the misinformation from SAG NED Greg Hessinger and outgoing SAG President Melissa Gilbert that this was a “tentative agreement” the “affected membership” okayed the residual-challenged Interactive proposal from the vid-gamers. Another sign to our employers that SAG is in the “Blink” mode. Too bad! Now that we are seen as a group of “go-along to-get alonger’s” It only guarantees that if we ever want to get a fair shake from them, we will probably have to go on strike!

Although, the Interactive Negotiating committee rescinded their approval, and the National Executive Committee failed to approve the vid-gamers proposal, those voting were never informed of this. They only thing they knew is what they were disingenuously told which was that their leaders had reached a Tentative Agreement–and they voted accordingly.

Once again, the membership was played like a violin.

Will, our SAG members ever be told the truth? Unless, there is a change in our leadership, it don’t look good. Uh, that is unless you are an employer.

The Ol’ Dog was only able to get this reaction from the Vid-gamers :D:)8):b;)**up

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

And if there is any doubt about the Respect SAG is now getting in the industry, just take a look at the Headline for tomorrow’s Variety Story! We have been tamed, Baby!

Posted: Thurs., Jul. 28, 2005, 7:23pm PT

SAG game for a tame contract

Members score 36% increase in rate for vidgame work

By CLAUDE BRODESSER, DAVE MCNARY

SAG members have voted to accept a new interactive contract with videogame publishers with an 81% endorsement — despite the pact’s lack of residuals.
Deal maintains SAG’s oversight of vidgame voiceover work and gives guild members the same deal already approved by AFTRA’s members last month: a 36% increase in the base rate of $556.20 per session for vidgame voiceover work.

SAG, which announced the results Thursday, said roughly 1,400 ballots were returned. Voting began July 13 with 1,932 ballots sent to those members who had worked under the contract plus another 1,441 sent to members requesting a ballot.

The approval by members comes six weeks after SAG’s national executive committee voted by a narrow margin to reject a contract previously approved unanimously, though unenthusiastically, by a negotiating committee composed entirely of vidgame voiceover thesps.

WOOF !Not quite true, part deux! After learning they had been mislead by NED Hessinger’s “legal” advice, the negotiating committee rescinded their approval.

SAG’s national board then voted to send the deal to a vote of the membership without any recommendation.
While the newly inked pact also includes other gains, including a 7.5% increase in contributions to the union’s benefit plan and additional payments for reuse of a single performance in multiple titles, SAG and AFTRA both failed to get what every artists union is thirsting for: residuals.
Offer rejected

In May producers spurned SAG and AFTRA’s final proposal, which included a demand for profit sharing in games that sell more than 400,000 units. That category includes only a few hits per year, such as recent successes “Halo 2″ and “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” but vidgame publishers generate most of their revenues from such games. Microsoft’s “Halo 2″ and Rockstar’s “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” — last year’s biggest titles — saw sales of more than $250 million each for the $7 billion-a-year videogame industry.

Current contract covers between 10% and 15% of those artists working as performers in vidgames for publishing giants like

Electronic Arts and some 70-odd other gaming companies of varying sizes. Outgoing SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert has promised that those low numbers will become the focus of the union’s organizing efforts.
Contract will run through the end of 2008.

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/story.asp?l=story&a=VR1117926703&c=1066

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“A Compliant Union is a good union!” Lew Wasserman, Chairman MCA.

*

Hollywood Reporter blows again with more misinformation.

SAG voters OK games pact

By Cynthia Littleton

SAG members have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract governing their work in the fast-growing video game sector. The vote, announced late Thursday, goes against the wishes of the guild’s divided national executive commitee.

The new Interactive Media Agreement, which secured higher wages and increased benefits but no residuals for the SAG members who lend their voices and likenesses to video games, was approved by 81.2% of the members who voted on the contract.

SAG said late Thursday that 42.8% of the 3,373 ballots mailed out were returned. The pact with such major video game producers as Electronic Arts and Activision takes effect today and runs through Dec. 31, 2008. The pact was jointly negotiated with AFTRA, which approved and adopted the contract in June.

The interactive media contract was approved in June in a vote held among the roughly 1,900 SAG members who regularly work in the video game arena.

WOOF !Huh? Does Ms. Littleton even have a clue what is going on? It’s embarrassing when a media outlet that so many industry people turn to for facts can be so off the mark. The June vote results was for a strike referendum NOT FOR CONTRACT APPROVAL. I guess we just chalk it up to sloppy journalism. There seems to be a lot of that going around in the local media these days when it comes to reporting on SAG issues. Of course, as long as they please the folks that buy their ads, I’m sure it ain’t no big deal to them.

But the pact was rejected a week later by a slim majority of SAG’s national executive committee, despite the membership vote and the recommendation of the guild’s negotiating committee that it be approved (HR 6/22).

WOOF !Another misstatement! But then I’m sure that’s what the handout supplied to the HR by Hessinger, Gilbert and gang indicated. The truth is that the negotiating committee officially rescinded their recommendation after learning that NED Hessinger had given them shall we say less than stellar legal advice.

At the insistence of SAG’s newly appointed national executive director Greg Hessinger, the proposed video game contract was put to another vote, this time open to all paid-up members of the guild (HR 6/30). Ballots were automatically sent to 1,932 members with earnings from video game work under the guild’s previous three-year agreement with major producers, which expired in May. An additional 1,441 ballots were requested by members, SAG said.

SAG held a strike referendum on video game concerns in May but failed to get enough support from members for a strike over residuals (HR 6/9).

WOOF !Perhaps, this is were the reporter got,uh, confused. The strike referendum went out in May, the ballots were due in early June.

Although it does not include residuals, the proposed Interactive Media Agreement boosts wages for voice-over and other performers by 36% over the terms of the 31⁄2-year contract, beginning with an immediate 25% hike. The actors also received increases in benefits and greater work protection.

As a result, actors will earn $759 for a daily, four-hour voice-over session by the end of the contract. Also, double-time will be paid after six hours; previously, it kicked in after 10 hours.

Other gains include a 7.5% increase in contributions to the unions’ benefit plan to 14.3%. The unions also made 15%-25% gains in rates for remote delivery and integration.

“By voting for this contract, SAG members have achieved major gains despite the fact that we were not able to win in the area of residuals,” SAG chief negotiator Sallie Weaver said. “The interactive market is of vital importance to our membership, and SAG will spend the next 31⁄2 years devoting resources to further organize this exploding industry so that we can return to the bargaining table with renewed strength and vigor.”

WOOF !Ah, yeah, right!

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and Commentary! The Residuals’ Effect: AFTRA Telemundo Negotiations Crumble

April 19, 2005 (20:22) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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It’s unfortunate but negotiations between AFTRA and Telemundo have broken down! You see the “major stumbling block” is that AFTRA demanded residuals for all performers while Telemundo proposed to remove residuals from the bargaining table altogether.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here, folks. First, Pisano, Melissa, Connolly, and gang set a bad precedent by a form of residual giveaways on new shows in the TV/Theatrical Contract. Currently, they are trying to sway us into forgoing residuals in the Interactive Contract! And now Telemundo is balking at paying residuals to our Spanish-speaking brother and sister performers.

Does AFTRA really think anyone is going to take them seriously when they demand “residuals” for Spanish Speaking performers when they just caved-in and agreed to a contract with vid-gamers that contained NO RESIDUALS? * What? Do they think just because their adversaries are Spanish they don’t read the trades?

It’s a part of what the Ol’ Dog calls the Residuals’ Effect!

Others may call it the Domino Effect. Whatever you call it, it is only gonna get worse unless we get new leadership that our employers Respect! And we have all learned who gets respect in this town! And it ain’t the individuals who go-along to get-along! It’s those who have the power–and aren’t afraid to use it.

Hopefully, unlike what has happened to AFTRA, this whole thing ain’t gonna come back in the next Commercial Contract negotiations to, well, you know




.
.
In the meantime, on behalf of all Spanish language actors, we can only wish our AFTRA negotiators the best! Theirs is not an easy task! Especially with a slogan like “We have nothing to fear, ah, as long as they don’t read the trades!”

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

AFTRA, Telemundo Negotiations Crumble

By Nicole Kristal

Telemundo, one of the nation’s largest Spanish-language networks, has ended negotiations with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. For more than six months, the network had participated in talks to unionize its entertainment programming. “It’s one thing to engage in hard bargaining. That is the norm. It is quite another to simply say we don’t have anything to talk about,” said Rebecca Rhine, assistant national executive director of AFTRA.

According to Rhine one of the major stumbling blocks during negotiations was residuals. AFTRA demanded residuals for all performers, while Telemundo proposed to remove residuals from the bargaining table altogether. The geographic areas of coverage also proved to be a point of contention. Telemundo apparently proposed that AFTRA exclusively cover Los Angeles, though many of Telemundo’s programs originate from Miami and other locations.

Also according to Rhine the network and AFTRA failed to agree on which programs would fall under the union umbrella. AFTRA wanted all entertainment programming, such as game shows and talk shows, to be included, while Telemundo agreed to union coverage only for performers in telenovelas or prime-time Spanish soap operas. According to AFTRA, Telemundo’s proposal also failed to include joint ventures, such as its production branch Telemundo-RTI.

“It’s problematic to have an agreement that doesn’t actually cover anything,” said Rhine.

Alfredo Richard, vice president of Corporate Communications for Telemundo, had a different perspective. “We are being portrayed or presented to the media as the bad guys by AFTRA, which is totally expected,” said Richard. “I think what’s going on here is the negotiation process. It’s like every other negotiation process, and the fact that we are not agreeing on some terms with [AFTRA] is being represented as if we are anti-union.”

Richard said talks with AFTRA failed because of the union’s inability to take into consideration the economics of Spanish-language television. According to Richard, the difference in market size and advertising revenue varies greatly compared with English-language television. “It’s like expecting the CEO of a repair shop in Milwaukee to make the same as the CEO of General Electric,” said Richard. “There are differences in terms of the economics that you’d need to take into account, and that’s all we’re saying to them.”

But Rhine said differences in market size were taken into account fully during negotiations with Telemundo. “We did not propose that they sign all the terms and conditions of the network code,” said Rhine. “We made proposals that were in line with our understanding of some of the economic realities of the Spanish-language television. We made counter-proposals based on their descriptions to us about their business model. We offered to take any information they were willing to give us and to create a model that worked, but we have certain industry standards, like residuals, that, yes, we were unwilling to agree to eliminate.”

But Richard contended that AFTRA did not care to address Spanish-language performers’ working conditions until 2002 and has waited until now to unionize because of Spanish-language television’s growing success. “I think what’s happening right now is that the demographic is becoming hotter,” said Richard. “People are paying more attention, and it’s potential revenue for organizations like AFTRA. What can I tell you? Everybody’s got to make a living. So those are potential memberships.”

Rhine denied Richard’s contention. “Their comment that we didn’t commit to Spanish-language performers until 2002 just simply is not true,” said Rhine.

Richard said Telemundo was unfairly targeted because of its affiliation with parent company NBC/Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric. Rhine said Telemundo’s linkage to NBC/Universal did initially attract AFTRA because of the union’s long-standing relationship with NBC that spans more than 50 years. (The union currently covers NBC English-language soap opera performers.) So in fall 2004, when an independent producer of the Spanish-language soap opera La Fuerza del Silencio, a Telemundo telenovela, began casting in Los Angeles, AFTRA saw an opportunity.

“The whole question of where we go first, whether it’s Univision or Telemundo or Galavision–to me that’s just simply irrelevant,” said Rhine. “Everything starts somewhere. The question is: Why shouldn’t NBC/Universal Telemundo be the first company to do the right thing?”

The production of La Fuerza moved to Dallas, Texas, to avoid union negotiations, according to AFTRA. When the union continued to press the issue, AFTRA hoped NBC/Universal would encourage Telemundo to unionize. When it failed to do so, AFTRA presented a letter at the GE shareholders meeting in May. At the time, AFTRA board member Jerry Velascl, former co-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, spoke with a friend at GE and persuaded him to use his influence to jump-start negotiations.

“[Telemundo was] saying that they came to talk to AFTRA to see how they could work it out–it’s not true. They were forced by GE because prior to that we had been trying for about a year and a half, and they refused to talk to us,” said Velascl, who participated in the Telemundo negotiations.

Rhine said Telemundo’s parent companies could have behaved more responsibly with regard to the negotiations. “I think they would prefer to keep their Spanish-language operations nonunion because it’s cheaper for them,” said Rhine. “I really believe that if they wanted to make a deal, they could make a deal.”

At press time, NBC/Universal had no response to Rhine’s statement.

Since Telemundo walked away from the bargaining table, AFTRA has accused the network of holding captive meetings with actors in Miami to discourage them from joining AFTRA.

Telemundo has denied forcing any employees into such gatherings. “What they said is that we had captive meetings and that we were doing anti-union propaganda, both of which are completely false,” said Richard. “We didn’t have captive meetings at all. There were some informational meetings [at which] actors came to us asking us for information about AFTRA. We held those, and it’s legal. We have the right to do that.”

Rhine said the Telemundo performers with whom she has spoken said they did not approach Telemundo management seeking more information about AFTRA. She said performers, however, received an anti-union leaflets intending to “mislead and misinform actors about AFTRA.”

In the leaflet, forwarded to Back Stage West by an AFTRA union organizer and translated by one of our staff members, Telemundo says, “We do not believe that representation of AFTRA will benefit you.” The memo also outlines the disadvantages of union membership, including dues and the possibility of a strike, and suggests that all employees refuse to sign any union cards or documents from AFTRA.

“It’s a garden variety anti-union campaign,” Rhine said of Telemundo’s actions.

Richard said the leaflet was distributed with a different purpose: to respond to printed material distributed to Telemundo employees by AFTRA in early June. “We felt it was appropriate to inform our employees about what it entails to sign a union card,” said Richard. “The other side of this is that they’re intending or pretending to represent people who haven’t even asked to be represented.”

Rhine said AFTRA is not pretending and has received reports from Telemundo actors of 12- to 15-hour workdays without dinner breaks or food being provided. Telemundo actors also told AFTRA they received insufficient rest days between shoots and no compensation for nonperformance-related work, such as fittings. In addition Telemundo actors apparently never received copies of contracts they signed. These actors have not spoken publicly against their employer.

“The fear of retaliation is quite extreme, especially in an industry that is predominantly nonunion where a lot of people are here on visas,” said Rhine.

SAG spokesperson Ilyanne Morden Kichaven noted that SAG has been monitoring AFTRA’s progress in unionizing Telemundo. SAG has also made efforts to address the issues of Spanish-language performers through its Florida branch.

AFTRA is currently investigating claims that Telemundo has threatened to move production work out of the United States because of the unionizing effort. Telemundo could be found in violation of the National Labor Relations Act if AFTRA proves that Telemundo attempted to obstruct workers’ ability to unionize. The act guarantees workers the right to join unions without fear of employer retaliation.

“At Telemundo we support our employees’ right to join and not to join a union. We would never impede our employees from pursuing their rights under federal labor law, nor act toward them in a manner that is unlawful,” said Richard.

Meanwhile, AFTRA is strategizing with politicians, community groups, and performers. “While we may have to take a beat to rethink, reassess, retool, reallocate, redirect, and reconfigure, one thing we are not going to do is retreat,” said AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.

Recently Te Amare en Silencio, a telenovela produced in Los Angeles under an AFTRA contract for Univision, aired in Mexico. Last week AFTRA received residual payments for the actors appearing on the show. AFTRA said these payments are the first of their kind and prove the feasibility of applying standard industry compensation structures to the medium of Spanish-language television.

“If the owner of Univision can do it, why can’t Telemundo do it, when NBC and GE own them? Why do they only want to make money and not share it with the people who are helping them get richer?” Velascl noted. “It’s not fair to these artists. They work hard. They have a dream, and they give it their all, and they don’t get compensated for what they’re worth. That’s wrong.”


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The Watchdog Quote of the Week

April 19, 2005 (20:22) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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From the Hollywood Reporter, the Watchdog “Quote of the Week” is aimed toward future SAG leaders from departing President Melissa Gilbert.

“I will be watching them — like a hawk.”


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More Biting Humor: The Watchdog Cartoon of the Week

April 19, 2005 (20:22) | 2005 | By: Arlin Miller

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A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

PS, As of yet AFTRA has not been able to offer any Constitutional proof that they have a legitimate agreement with Interactive producers.

*Cartoon idea submitted by Watchdog reader.

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