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Hot Off the Presses: AFTRA pulls a “Legal Rabbit Out Of the Hat” to justify Administrative Committees Interactive Agreement. But, but, but, just to be on the “Safe-side’ AFTRA Board re-ratifies their Vid-game contract!

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

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When challenged by this website and others on the constitutionality of AFTRA’s Interactive contract, in which their membership was completely bypassed, there was a rash of explanations justifying their precipitous and member unfriendly move.

At first, it was that the committee had been given that authority in the last board meeting. When the Ol’ Dog shot that down, then it was well, the board gave them that authority ten years ago. No proof! “Okay, well its custom and practice,” they intoned! Custom and practice don’t trump the AFTRA constitution. Well, well, well

Well, today at an AFTRA board meeting they pulled another legal rabbit out of the hat as an explanation: Ah, gosh, ah shucks, folks ,it’s like this, back in 2001 the board delegated to the Administrative Committee pretty much carte blanche to take any “emergency” action they deemed necessary if the AFTRA Board couldn’t meet to handle it in a timely matter.

To show you how much faith the board had in that dubious explanation, and the legality of their so-called agreement that they have been touting in the media, magically…

they decided to go ahead and ratify the damn thing again! You know, just to be on the safe side!

Now, some of you members might wonder why they won’t let you vote on it. Well, let’s see. Hmmm, reportedly over fifty percent of AFTRA members voted for a strike authorization referendum*, and, well, gosh, it only takes over fifty percent to vote down their hurriedly agreed upon deal. And, heck, this was after all an an emergency!

Emergency? WHAT EMERGENCY? After all, AFTRA’s membership ain’t going anywhere–and AFTRA’s Constitution’s Article X1V clearly states that All National Collective Bargaining Agreements of this ilk should go out to the membership for ratification.

Oh, right, the Ol’Dog forgot! The emergency was that the Administrative Committee couldn’t have gotten the upper hand on SAG if they had taken the time to obey their pesky constitution and gone to their membership for ratification! Now, we know what their idea of a Phase Two agreement is gonna be about– SCREWING SAG!

So, they went ahead and unilaterally okayed the residual challenged deal. But just in case both memberships had voted to authorize a strike, they would have insisted that the decision to go on strike be a JOINT DECISION! Talk about wanting it both ways!

Look, folks, the Ol’ Dog anticipates that it won’t be all that far down the line when actors will have to choose which guild they want to represent them. Then you’ll have to make a really tough decision said he facetiously.

Do you want a guild that bypasses you and your constitutional right to vote on important decisions, and gives you inferior contractsor do you want to be represented by the greatest actors guild in the world that historically gets you superior contracts and for the most part, automatically includes you in the process on important decisions such as we are know facing. (If you’re a SAG member and you don’t get a Interactive ballot. Request one and it will be sent to you! Okay, maybe not perfect, but compared to AFTRA’s bypass-the-members policy, its the hight of democracy!)

I haven’t read this *bunny “rabbit out of the hat” 2001 board policy ruling yet, but have promised to put it up on the Ol’ Website (intact) when I get it. You think that maybe it’s just another all encompassing legal rabbit out of the hat to cover a constitutional indiscretion. *

We shall see! We shall see! For my next trick, the Ol’ Dog is gonna pull an olive out of a bottle! *toast

A.L. Miller’s SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

*The Bad News: There was no official tally of the strike authorization referendum of either SAG or AFTRA released by the leadership to members!

The Good News: At least for SAG members! There is an election coming up!

(Remember the good Ol’ days when after you voted you were actually let in on the results?}

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Standups, Standup for Standup Gal at the Hollywood Membership Meeting

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

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So it’s just a little after noon as the Ol’ Dog scampers down the 101 in the Black Beauty, stogie in hand, heading toward the lovely Radisson Wilshire Plaza. (It’s a union hotel)

Now, I intended to sign up for a Question and Answer slot, and usually had to show up before the cows come out, ah, or is it in,ah, make that chickens get up, to get a spot, but I ain’t in no big hurry ’cause I have been tipped that there is valet parking. Alright! Not! When I finally arrive at Wilshire and Normandy, there’s a block long line of cars waiting for that Good Ol’ Valet parking! Screw this! I’ll find my own parking. Not!

So, I pull up to the end of the line! No biggie, I’ll call my nephew on the Ol’ cellphone and smoke my Punch Rothschild while he dazzles me with the wonders of his recent fishing trip. Right! By the time I FINALLY got around the corner onto the Wilshire entrance to the Valet Parking, my nephew was down to telling me about how he smashed beer cans as he cleaned up the camp site.

Ouch, the dam cigar flipped out of my fingers and onto the floorboard. Something for the cigar smoker’s guideyou can only smoke a five inch stogie for so long!

As I sucked my thumb to cool it off, just before my turn to enter the lot, a big Ol’ security guard put out the “Lot Full” Sign!

With a few choice words, I headed to the corner and got luckyA PARKING SPOT! All right! No tipping!

Once inside, and in the second floor lobby, it was greetings all around from the usual suspects. You know the, folks that always show up for their union. I signed up for a spot on the questions’ rosterYikes! I was 21 on the list! By the time I got to the mike the only person listening would be the janitor! Ah, what the hell at least he’d be union man.

Well, at our last annual membership meeting we probably had about a hundred attendees, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the grand ballroom and it was packed with several hundred members. I mean it was standing room only. (They reportedly had to turn away another hundred)Fortunately, a little old lady got up to go to go to the bathroom or something, and I managed to snag her seat!

Let the festivities begin!

The meeting chaired by 1st Vice President Anne Marie Johnson, who was funny and efficient, got started with the usual stuff, pledge of allegiance, introductions, etc.. She graciously forgoed her 1st Vice President thingy, so as to have more time for the Q&A!

It was right into the 2005 Ralph Morgan award presented to former SAG President Kathleen Nolan. I must say that I weren’t all that interested. Okay, great honor, but lets get onto the good stuff Q&A? That’s when the real action takes place.

Well, the more the award presenter, eloquent, Kent McCord, spoke about this remarkable, gutsy woman, the more interested I became. Then after a touching letter from Kevin Spacey read by President Gilbert we were all treated to this lady of many firsts, highlighted by her tenure as SAG’s first female President.

Ms. Nolan spoke of many things from chairing SAG’s first Woman’s Committee to her high regard for Kent McCord, but the theme intertwined in her spunky reflections was the one of strength–not weakness. She worked for SAG’s most valuable asset–POWER! As she continued to speak, I was particularly struck by the contrast of this former SAG President and our current President seated on the dais directly behind her. Ms. Nolan while serving as our president followed the philosophy of then SAG National Executive Secretary the incomparable Chet Migden:

“No Risk! No Change! And you end up with the status quo!”

A couple of other words of wisdom from this grand lady, On contracts: “It takes years to get back what we give up.” Ms. Nolan went on to warn us all that we may again just be on that “Slippery Slope!” Getting back to the “take it or leave it days!”

When she finished her acceptance speech, which was interrupted several times by loud applause, she was greeted with a well-deserved standing Ovation!

She had ignited this crowd of Stand-ups who for the last several years have seen their union and income eviscerated by the “go-along-to-get along” attitude of the current Leadership

After hearing Ms. Nolan I must say that perhaps what our beloved union needs is not new leadership but

…OLD LEADERSHIP!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Coming soon to the Watchdog, the really juicy stuff as we get to the fiery Question & Answer Period! Below: Toward the end of the meeting, a group of excited members wait for the Ol’ Dog to step to the mike.


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Watchdog’s “Cutting” Cartoon of the Week And Membership Meeting info

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

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*Idea submitted by Terrence Beasor

Oh, and don’t forget to attend the Hollywood Membership Meeting! And although it is not listed on the agenda, I have been told that there will be a “Question & Answer period.”

So, get there early, sign up, and ask those tough questions. Don’t worry the Ol’ Dog will have your back. Ah, what? Dog, whose gonna have your back? Yikes! I never thought of that. Ah, hmmm, well, yawl have a good time. Whoof! Whoof!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD HOLLYWOOD MEMBERSHIP MEETING

What: Please join your fellow SAG members at the annual membership meeting.
When: 12-1 p.m. (Mixer with board, staff and members; visit committee tables)
1-4 p.m. (Meeting/Q &A)
Sunday, July 10, 2005

Where: Radisson Wilshire Plaza
Grand Ballroom
3515 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(at Normandie; validated valet parking provided)

2005 Ralph Morgan Award Presentation to Kathleen Nolan (former SAG President)
Meet Committee Chairs & Board Members
Purchase thesagshop.com merchandise
Find out about SAG Labor Day Picnic
Election Petitions available (12-1 p.m.)
Register for SAG 24/7


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Standup V/O animation actors reach tentative agreement!

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

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Their Mighty, but NOT Mice, animation negotiators have done our union proud by reaching a tentative agreement WITHOUT CAVING IN to the producers’ demand for a 2.25%/3%/3/% increase in minimums– disguised as 3%/3%/3% increases! The same crap they got away with in the Pisano/Hessinger Restore Respect/USAN/AFTRA recommended TV/Theatrical contract in which the increases didn’t begin until THREE MONTHS into the contract.

Well, guess what folks The Restore Respect Cave-ins couldn’t dominate this one. It was a bipartisan group of Stand-ups hell-bent on getting a fair deal even if it meant going on strike to do so. Their 3/3/3 increase in minimums not only doesn’t have a three month waiting period, but it is retro-active beginning on July 1st.

So, while the Cave-ins were at a meeting last night trying to bury us with their go-along-to-get-along agenda, the Stand-ups beat them to the punch–and hammered out an agreement that the Cave-ins never figured they had a ghost of a chance of getting! After all they really, really believed the producers really meant it when they demanded that the increases in minimums didn’t begin until October 1st.

Fortunately, the producers really, really believed the SAG Stand-ups when they said the ersatz 2.25/3/3 increase in minimums was totally unacceptable.

Way to go Stand-ups!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

SAG Press Release

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AND TV ANIMATION PRODUCERS REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

SAG National Board to Consider Proposed Contract Later This Month

(Los Angeles, July 7, 2005) – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced today that a tentative agreement has been reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year contract covering television animation productions.

The new agreement includes a three percent increase in minimum pay effective July 1, 2005 and a one percent boost in contributions to the union’s benefits plans, beginning on January 1, 2006.

WOOF !Not completely correct. It’s a 9% increase in minimums over the next three years: A true 3/3/3 increase.

Additionally, the Guild secured agreement from producers to recommend that the trustees of the union’s pension and health plans create a method to track earnings under this contract. To date, the TV animation contract is one of the only union agreements for which member earnings are not separately reported. This data is crucial to the Guild for future organizing and negotiations. SAG also granted producers the right to theatrically exhibit TV animation shorts for one week to qualify for Academy Award consideration.

“We’re pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the industry for television animation programming,” said SAG National Executive Director and CEO Greg Hessinger. “The National Board will consider this contract at our upcoming meeting at the end of July. Now that we have successfully negotiated this important agreement, as well as the larger TV/Theatrical contract, we look forward to beginning talks with the industry on new basic cable agreements. Our focus in those talks will be on the residual structures for live action and animation programming on basic cable, where the terms covering such work have lagged behind the explosive growth of those platforms for too long.”

Negotiations between SAG and AMPTP on a new three-year television animation agreement began in May. Negotiators were strengthened by the support of more than 150 members of the television animation community, who met in a caucus last month to express their priorities in the negotiations. SAG plans to hold another caucus with those performers this Tuesday night at Guild headquarters in Hollywood to report in detail on the terms of the tentative agreement. The proposed contract will go the SAG National Board for ratification at their plenary on July 30.

The member-led negotiating committee was represented by Anne Talltree, the Guild’s chief negotiator for this agreement.

WOOF !Kudos to Ms. Talltree and the Standup Negotiating TEAM! Now, here’s Variety’s take on the tentative agreement.

Posted: Thurs., Jul. 7, 2005, 10:00pm PT

SAG toon’d in on tube in new deal

Guild’s vidgame juristiction still in limbo

By CLAUDE BRODESSER

SAG has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on a new three-year contract covering TV animation production.

New agreement includes a 9% hike in minimums for voiceover talent over the life of the contract, including a 3% increase in minimum pay effective retroactively to July 1, and a 1% boost in contributions to the union’s benefits plans, beginning Jan. 1.

Member earnings are not separately reported for TV animation work, but the pact demands that producers recommend the trustees of the union’s pension and health plans create a method to track earnings. Such data would be helpful to the guild for future organizing and negotiations.

SAG also granted producers the right to theatrically exhibit TV animation shorts for one week to qualify for Academy Awards consideration.

In a statement, SAG chief exec Greg Hessinger said the guild was looking forward to beginning talks with the industry on new basic cable agreements.
“Our focus in those talks will be on the residual structures for live action and animation programming on basic cable,” said Hessinger, “where the terms covering such work have lagged behind the explosive growth of those platforms for too long.”

Negotiations between SAG and AMPTP on a new TV animation agreement began in May.

Meanwhile, SAG plans to hold a caucus with TV animation performers Tuesday at guild headquarters in Hollywood to report on the terms of the tentative agreement. Proposed contract goes to the SAG national board for ratification at their plenary on July 30.

Negotiating committee was represented by Anne Talltree, the guild’s chief negotiator for TV animation.

Vidgames still in limbo whether the guild will retain jurisdiction over the $7 billion vidgame biz.
Last week, the guild’s national board voted to send a proposed agreement — rejected by SAG’s national executive committee two weeks ago — to members who work the vidgame industry. Should the vidgame contract ballot measure fail (it contains a 36% pay hike but no residuals — a major sticking point with the SAG Hollywood board), AFTRA would retain sole jurisdiction over vidgames.

WOOF !More jurisdictional B.S. being desiminated by the Restore Respect Cave-ins and their senior staff co-horts and propagated by Variety and its reporter. Self-evident question: How can AFTRA retain something it don’t have. Perhaps CB should read his own material before making such a bone-headed statement. Yikes! He is contradicting himself! Ah, I’ve hi-lighted it in yellow so he’ll catch it this time. *

SAG’s vidgame ballots, which the union’s board decided will carry no recommendation, go out July 13 and are due back July 28. Vidgame publishers, for their part, have agreed to extend their offer until July 31.

WOOF !Hmmm, CB correct me if I’m wrong but SAG’s contract is currently in affect with SAG vid-game signatories. So, ah, if SAG has jurisdiction over their vid-game signitories how can AFTRA retain sole jurisdiction over vid-gamers, ah, when, ah, they’ve never had sole jurisdiction over vid-gamers! Tell you what CB get back to us when you straighten this out!
**

Read the full article at:
http://www.variety.com/story.asp?l=story&a=VR1117925623&c=1050

Like this article? Variety.com has over 145,000 articles, 40,000 reviews and 10,000 pages of charts. Subscribe today!
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or call (866) MY-VARIETY.
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*All formatting is SW’s.

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AFTRA Unconstitutional SHORTCUT threatens their Interactive “Deal”

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

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It’s a basic tenet of contract law that if one party is not authorized to make an agreement– it is not binding. This is the stance that the federal government takes on this matter,

“Only Contracting Officers, acting within the scope of their authority, are authorized to enter into contracts.”

In law, here is how a binding contract is defined: binding – “executed with proper legal authority; “a binding contract”
.

Well, the Ol’ Watchdog has discovered that in their rush to get a jurisdictional edge over SAG, AFTRA’s Administrative Committee took an unconstitutional shortcut and entered into an agreement with the Interactive negotiators acting BEYOND the scope of their proper legal authority. Conclusion: The contract agreement between AFTRA and vid-gamers is NOT AUTHORIZED OR BINDING!

This conclusion is based on the AFTRA Constitution: Article XIV which deals with all National Collective Bargaining Agreements, other than Phase One Agreements. It dictates that those agreements..

“shall be submitted to the membership affected thereby for ratification…”


..or by a process that includes locals at meetings called for the purpose.

Now Article XV, would have allowed AFTRA’s National Board to delegate that authority to the Administrative Committee, subject to provisions of their constitution. The big problem is that they DID NOT!

In AFTRA’s last Board Meeting THE ONLY AUTHORIZATION DELEGATED TO THEIR ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE, IN REGARD TO THE INTERACTIVE CONTRACT PROPOSAL, WAS THE AUTHORITY TO CALL A STRIKE IF THE STRIKE REFERENDUM WAS PASSED!


THEY WERE GIVEN NO AUTHORITY TO SUPERCEDE AFTRA’s CONSTITUTIONAL DICTATE THAT NATIONAL COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS

“..shall be submitted to the membership affected thereby for ratification..”

So, instead of SAG’s NED Hessinger and Restore Respect Leadership using jurisdictional scare tactics to induce members to vote-up the last offer made by the Interactive gamers, perhaps they should be insisting that their counterparts at AFTRA respect their own constitution and membership by doing the right thingby also sending out their contract proposal to their membership for their ratification.

As to the vid-gamers and their SYCOPHANTS trying to leverage SAG members into ratifying this Residual-less contract proposal by pointing to AFTRA’s agreement, the Ol’ Dog’s response is

WHAT AGREEMENT ??


As to those in both our unions SAG/AFTRA who justify their unconstitutional actions by saying, “that’s the way we’ve always done it!” Be on notice:


THOSE DAYS ARE OVER !!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

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