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.
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!”
“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! 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.
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!!!
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?
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
*All formatting is SW’s!
** Note: Seth is great about returning phone calls which is much appreciated by the Ol’ Dog