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Smoking Gun!! AFTRA Rigged Referendum!

April 19, 2008 (19:07) | 2008 | By: Arlin Miller

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The following flyer is being sent to broadcasters by AFTRA’s Leadership in order to solicit their vote on a contract that they don’t work under!

This shameless, blatant appeal, to broadcasters own self-interest, is being done even though they don’t work this contract.

It is being perpetrated by AFTRA’s Leadership in order to manipulate a referendum that will affect actors’ ability to make a living for decades to come. And it is being done in spite of the fact that AFTRA’s Constitution, Article XIII, which applies to this referendum, explicitly states that the only members allowed to vote will be those “affected” by the contract.

So, there you go actors, if AFTRA’s Exhibit A “Giveaway” contract passes, you’ll have the satisfaction that some Disc Jockey in Detroit, Weatherman in Washington, Anchor in Anchorage, Reporter in Raleigh, or Commentator in Columbia will, not only, determine whether you retain consent on clips, keep residuals, or see new media go non-union, but they will increase their pension and health benefits at your expense.

The irony about all this, is that the very same people pushing this contract, are the same ones who want qualified voting for actors, who don’t make enough money under the contracts they work.

Yet, in the case of this referendum, which they support, they have no problem with broadcasters voting on it, even though those broadcaster don’t work it.

Yes, it’s time to do something to get AFTRA off actors back, and I don’t mean merger. For it would, just, mean more of the same, actors’ fate being decided by thousands of broadcaster, who have nothing to do with the acting business.

What can actors do? Well for starters, we can stand together and Vote against this contract!

And if we are outvoted by the Disc Jockeys, Anchormen, Weathermen, correspondents, commentators, reporters and all those others, acting in their own self-interest, we can go to the Department of Labor to protest a referendum rigged in violation of the AFTRA Constitution.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Actors, remember, a NO Vote on AFTRA’s Exhibit A “Giveaway,” is a YES Vote for your future!


If you’d like to vote YES or NO for the Backstage Poll on the AFTRA Deal, here’s the link to the poll – http://www.backstage.com/bso/community/bulletins/index.jsp

However, the real poll is that ballot you received from AFTRA. It must be in by July 8th, 2008.

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A-listers fire back for SAG

April 19, 2008 (19:07) | 2008 | By: Arlin Miller

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*hot A-listers fire back for SAG

Jack Nicholson among actors against AFTRA pact

By Leslie Simmons and Andrew Salomon
June 24, 2008, 10:24 PM ET

Related Content
Complete SAG/AFTRA coverage

The battle of dueling A-listers heated up Tuesday as SAG enlisted 67 actors — including Jack Nicholson, Ben Stiller and Martin Sheen — to back its campaign against the ratification of AFTRA’s tentative pact with the studios and networks.

The move comes just days after Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey and more than 100 other guild members went on record in support of AFTRA’s contract and urged a “yes” vote on its ratification.

For SAG, which completed its 37th negotiating session with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on Tuesday, the AFTRA ratification vote is crucial. The guild will have little leverage at the bargaining table if AFTRA’s pact is approved; if it’s voted down, the membership will have sent a strong signal that it is committed to achieving more.

The issues splitting the unions, as well as factions of SAG, are wages, pension and health contributions; residuals for all new media; no non-union media productions; protections from product integration; an increase in DVD residuals; and preserving force majeure protections. Those opposing ratification of AFTRA’s pact say the gains in its tentative deal are not enough.

Meanwhile, SAG’s national executive committee has voted to seek an extension to the union’s TV/theatrical contract, which expires Monday. The move is not surprising, as the guild’s chief negotiator Doug Allen has said he expects talks to continue past the deadline.

AFTRA brokered its tentative deal with the AMPTP on May 28. Members are now voting on whether to ratify the contract, with results expected July 8. A simple majority is needed for approval.

AFTRA has about 70,000 members overall, which makes the math for SAG extremely difficult, at least in theory. It would need to convince more than 35,000 of the 44,000 dual cardholders — almost 80% — to vote against the deal, assuming the other 26,000 or so would vote to approve it.

Then again, member response to referenda and elections has been historically low, often less than 30%, so nothing is certain. And it is because of that low voter turnout that both unions have been waging their campaigns for or against the AFTRA contract.

The executive committee, which was bitterly divided over the anti-AFTRA campaign, was nearly unanimous in backing the extension request. Tension arose later in the meeting, however, when members of the New York and other regional factions, who have endorsed the AFTRA contract, demanded to know what the plan for SAG would be if AFTRA members ratified the contract.

“It’s absolutely dead certain that AFTRA will not go back to the table with SAG under any circumstances,” said a source with knowledge of the meeting. “For Doug Allen to be making statements to the contrary is absolutely intentionally misleading the membership.”

A spokesman for the AMPTP said Tuesday that the group had received no request for an extension.

SAG also has posted several videos from high-profile members on its Web site. Sheen and Ed Harris deliver 30-second video statements that say they “support the negotiating team.”

Viggo Mortensen taped a longer video explaining his unhappiness with AFTRA.

“In the current issues we are dealing with, I would say that AFTRA is one of the main stumbling blocks,” a somber Mortensen says. “I’m sorry to say that.”

Mortensen adds that he’s considering withdrawing from AFTRA temporarily and tells viewers, “If you don’t take part, you will get screwed. And I don’t intend to get screwed.”

In response to the trade ads, an AFTRA spokeswoman said “thousands” of AFTRA members, as well as SAG board members in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and the labor community, support the union’s contract.

“Yet, SAG’s Hollywood leadership continues down its dysfunctional path, spending its members’ dues in a misguided effort to attack another union and undermine a solid contract,” the spokeswoman said. “For our part, we remain focused on educating AFTRA members about the facts and the merits of their new agreement so they can make an informed decision. We are confident that they will see through this latest politically motivated effort and ultimately ratify the AFTRA contract and help keep our industry working.”

AFTRA was the first to enlist top actors to back its cause, sending out phone messages to its members from actors including Sally Field and James Cromwell last week. SAG followed with a “robo” phone calls by “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh, urging AFTRA members to vote no.

Andrew Salomon is news editor at Back Stage East.

This ad appeared in the trades today!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Remember, actors, A NO Vote on the AFTRA Exhibit A “Giveway” is, a YES Vote for SAG as your bargaining agent, and a YES vote for your future !!

This from Variety Magazine:

SAG, AFTRA in spin cycle
Union vs. union battle continues
By DAVE MCNARYIn

the union vs. union tragicomedy that has played out in Hollywood, SAG’s major beef with the AFTRA contract has been that it does not deliver enough gains for middle-class thesps.

AFTRA and SAG are both playing a bit fast and loose with the facts in making the case, respectively, for and against the deal to AFTRA’s 70,000 members, 44,000 of which have dual membership in SAG.

WOOF !The bottom line is who do you want bargaining for you. AFTRA, a compliant Star(Less) Chamber union, that will not let you see the contracts you work under, or even verify the results of a referendum vote–or SAG which has a tradition of standing up for actors for 75 years.

No point appears to be too small to fight over, but the overriding issue is whether SAG has a chance of reaching a deal with the majors on new-media and other contentious issues that are markedly different from the deals already agreed to by the DGA, WGA and AFTRA, pending the latter’s ratification vote.

WOOF !It is an important point to actors that they don’t receive *money TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS for a year of network reruns on the internet, and that they will lose the right to bargain for clip usage, and that our signatories are allowed to produce most of their shows on the Internet NON UNION with NO RESIDUALS.

AFTRA’s pro-ratification ballot, due back by July 8, and SAG’s “vote no” campaign offer highly diverging and complex versions of what’s at stake for actors.

SAG leaders have raised eyebrows among biz insiders for what some view as its mischaracterization of the value of AFTRA’s contract, particularly the gains realized in a bread-and-butter area for middle-class TV thesps — minimums for major roles in series.

WOOF !Hello! We are tired of working for Bread and Butter, we and our families deserve more for our contribution to the product that cannot be produced without us. Let Les Moonves and the gang, making billions, try and feed their families on bread and butter. Hello?

SAG has argued that actors could be making less over three years, adjusted for inflation, than they are today because AFTRA’s increase in minimums amounts to about 10% over three years.

“Provisions for major role performers were not improved nearly enough,” SAG has maintained in its communications to members. “The money breaks provide little improvement.”

AFTRA maintains it made strides in the major-role minimums, because it secured an immediate boost of 6% from the current contract, rising to 13% by the third year. It also got a boost in the so-called multiplier figure that, in the intricacies of how actor salaries are calculated, chips into an actor’s overall compensation for a role. The existing AFTRA multiplier (or the percentage by which the base minimum is increased) was 7.5% but rises to 10% in the new contract.

WOOF !The first year increase of 3.5% in minimums does not even keep up with inflation. It amounts to FIVE GALLONS of gas per job. Whoopie!

With a base minimum in the new contract of $4,323 per day (up from $4,080) for major-role players in a half-hour series, the increase in the multiplier means that actors will get an additional $432.30 per day, as opposed to $302.61 if the multiplier had not been increased.

WOOF !Hmmm, about a hundred buck increase over three years, in the meantime the future of actors on the Internet is sold out. And if you think producers will increase our share as the Internet booms, I’ve got two words for you CABLE and VHS/DVD. Okay, make that three words.

SAG makes no mention of the increase in the multiplier but still hammers that part of the deal. SAG and AFTRA are also going at it on whether AFTRA secured sufficient gains in overtime coin for actors, while AFTRA notes that the new pact includes the first overtime gains of any sort since 1998.

WOOF !They talk overtime gains, while they sell our future down the tubes. Duh!

As SAG begins its 38th day of negotiations with the majors today, the pro-AFTRA forces have added Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey to their list of several hundred endorsers, led by Tom Hanks and Sally Field. SAG’s anti-deal campaign has been stressing that voting no does not mean AFTRA will go strike, even though the ballot says a no vote gives AFTRA leaders a strike authorization.

SAG announced Tuesday it had added high-profile supporters including Jack Nicholson, Ben Stiller, Josh Brolin, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Viggo Mortensen, Nick Nolte and Martin Sheen. It’s also amped up its PR campaign via print ads.

WOOF !At last, “A” Listers, who are acting like our stars of the past and standing by their union and its rank and file actors.

“A no vote means no and that’s all its means,” SAG said in an ad placed in today’s edition of Daily Variety. “What about going back to the table? Is AFTRA saying they won’t go back and bargain a better deal if AFTRA members vote this deal down? The SAG national negotiating committee knows that a ‘no’ vote makes a strike less likely because it shows that all actors want a better deal.”

The SAG-AFTRA brawling also raises the key question of clout. SAG has blasted the notion of the AFTRA deal serving as a template, because AFTRA’s last primetime contract generated $40 million for members while SAG’s last three-year feature-primetime pact generated $4 billion over the same period. Observers say the argument makes little sense, because SAG has so many more members working in the primetime and film arena.

SAG’s also hammering AFTRA over its “abandonment” of new media residuals — without noting that the AFTRA terms mirror those of the DGA and WGA deals. It claims that doing so marks “the beginning of the end” of residuals while failing to mention that its allies at the WGA wound up settling for the same terms as those in the AFTRA pact.

WOOF !Excuse me, but who gives a sh*t what the DGA and WGA settled for. If we are going to settle for what they get, why even bother to go to the bargaining table. Oh, by the way on those Internet Reruns writers get around SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS while actors under the same deal would get between TWENTY THREE DOLLARS all the way up to a whopping HUNDRED AND FIVE DOLLARS for series regulars. Oh, by the way, WGA President Patric Verrone said that he hoped SAG got a better deal than the writers got. Well, AFTRA’s Exhibit A “Giveaway” don’t do it !!

SAG contends that such residuals are crucial at this point: “This is a huge problem for SAG members because the new media platform could cannibalize some existing residuals models for both motion pictures and television when product moves to the Internet.”

SAG has blasted AFTRA over the deal’s online clip-consent provisions, noting that part of the deal is contingent on the development of a process for securing consent.

“Without strong protections in place — AFTRA’s right of consent at the time of hire could easily become ‘Right to get fired at the time of hire,'” SAG complained.

AFTRA, on the other hand, argues that it achieved the consent provision “despite enormous opposition” from the majors. Even sympathetic industry insiders are skeptical whether AFTRA will be able to come to terms on the clip-consent, but AFTRA is putting a glass-half-full spin on that part of the pact.

WOOF !Hello! Consent at the time of orginial employment is NO consent at all for middle class actors, and most likely would lead to blacklisting of those [iuncooperative actors.

“Whatever we come up with, it will still be completely up to the performer to grant or withhold consent,” AFTRA asserted.

WOOF !Yeah, right!

AFTRA also issued another blast Tuesday at SAG in reaction to the ad campaign, noting that SAG’s own New York, Chicago, and San Francisco boards have supported the AFTRA deal. “Yet SAG’s Hollywood leadership continues down its dysfunctional path, spending its members’ dues in a misguided effort to attack another union and undermine a solid contract,” a spokeswoman said. “For our part, we remain focused on educating AFTRA members about the facts and the merits of their new agreement so they can make an informed decision. We are confident that they will see through this latest politically motivated effort and ultimately ratify the AFTRA contract and help keep our industry working,”

WOOF ! It’s like I’ve told you, NY and most of the Branch board members are AFTRA Operatives in SAG clothing!

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You Can do more than just vote NO. Call SAG at (323)549-6459 to help man the phones and get the message out to fellow SAG members. If we work together we can save our great guild.

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Tom or Jack who do you think is looking out for fellow SAG actors?

April 19, 2008 (19:07) | 2008 | By: Arlin Miller

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Well, according to the Ol’ Grapevine, there will be an ad in the trades listing several A list actors supporting SAG and its negotiators in their current bargaining with the AMPTP.

Jack Nicholson heads the list of actors, supporting SAG. On the other side of the coin, actor producer Tom Hanks heads a list of high profile actors supporting the AFTRA Deal.

So, the questions at hand, which of the two superstars is acting on behalf of actors–and which of the two is acting more out of self-interest?

Well, both, according to IMDb are producers with production companies. Could this be a mitigating factor in either’s case.

First, according to IMDb, here are Jack’s Producer Credits.

With only a few producer credits and none since 1992, obviously, his production company is not a factor on who he supports. He is an actor and he is standing up for his fellow actors in supporting them in this historic negotiation. One which will affect actors ability to make a living for decades to come.

Now, let’s look at Tom Hanks producer credits.


Hmmm, so Tom has TEN productions listed since 2008. Several that would be impacted by any work stoppage! Ah, so, do you think that may be a mitigating factor on his supporting the AFTRA Exhibit A “Giveaway” to producers–in an effort to force SAG to sign a deal that will keep his productions from stalling?

Naw!

Do you think the fact that his PR Firm 42 West also represents AFTRA might be a mitigating factor in his deserting his fellow SAG actors for AFTRA?

Naw!

Do you think he cares a rats-ass that the AFTRA contract will be a defacto giveaway of middle-class actor’s right of bargaining and consent on clips. That actors will only get 25 bucks for a year of reruns of network shows on the Internet? That they’ll still get no increase in DVD after over a quarter of a century. That most of the shows on the Internet will be non-union, and there will be no residuals. We could go on and on, but do you, really, think Tom Hanks’ gives a rats-ass about how any of this will affect actors.

Naw!

On the other hand, Mr. Nicholson, you will always be Jake with me, and your fellow SAG actors with whom you are standing shoulder to shoulder in our time of need.
*up

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

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AFTRA’s Pro Exhibit “A” Letter to Agents.

April 19, 2008 (19:07) | 2008 | By: Arlin Miller

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AFTRA’s Leadership gets all bent out of joint because SAG is interfering with their referendum, but, but, it is apparent that it is not the interfering that is upsetting them but rather interference from an entity that does not agree with AFTRA’s Leadership’s agenda.

Now if interference, was not welcomed by other entities more agreeable to AFTRA’s sellout of actors, why would AFTRA’s Leadership send out the following letter.


Hmmm, since, it is highly unlikely that any agents will vote on this, ah, gosh, what could be their purpose in sending this out to agents with its advisory that “You and your clients are encouraged to carefully study the Summary of the Proposed Agreement.”

Huh? They’re hoping that these agents will try and influence their clients to vote for AFTRA’s Exhibit A Giveaway.

Naw!

You mean, to say, Roberta and Kim and the gang would try to get employers like agents involved in helping pass this referendum?

Naw, again!

Boy, some people are just too damn suspicious. B)

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
www.sagwatchdog.com

Remember, actors, a NO vote on the AFTRA Exhibit A “Giveaway,” is a YES vote for your ability to make a living in the future.

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0oops AFTRA’s Constitutional Referendum Violations

April 19, 2008 (19:07) | 2008 | By: Arlin Miller

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When you check your ballot information accompanying AFTRA’s Exhibit “A” referendum ballot, you’ll read the following.

A “YES” vote is to approve the package as recommended by the AFTRA National Board.

A “NO” vote is to reject the recommended package and simultaneously authorize the AFTRA National Board to call a strike at a time to be determined by the Board.

It is obvious to the Ol’ Dog that the inclusion of the caveat stating that a NO VOTE IS TO AUTHORIZE A STRIKE is included to scare members into thinking that there will, most likely, be a strike if they vote against the contract.

Only, one little problem with AFTRA’s little ploy, and that is that, as stated, it violates AFTRA’s Constitution.

There are certain perimeters, for work stoppages, set in the AFTRA constitution for members voting in a referendum, other than jointly bargained contracts.

In regards to such actions, the AFTRA Constitution sets a standard that clearly states that it takes two-thirds of the members voting in referendum to okay any work stoppages; Article XI, states that no such order of the board shall be issued unless such order shall be concurredby two-third (2/3) of those of the members who vote thereon in a mail referendum vote ordered by the National Board under rules and regulations prescribed by it!”

Ooops! B)

Do I detect a referendum challenge here? You know, it ain’t nice to lie to the membership, in one of these things, ah, the feds don’t take nicely to any irregularities–as AFTRA discovered when they were forced by the DOL to rerun one of their recent elections because of violations.

Oh, remember how AFTRA bragged about it being a cooperative effort between them and the DOL in actuating that rerunah, well, in all that cooperating with the DOL AFTRA managed to spend *money$50,000 of members dues dollars in attorney fees.

Oh, one other little problem, that may come back to bite AFTRA’s Leadership in the ass, is their free and easy way with their constitution, in regards to another matter.

Under jointly negotiated collective bargaining agreements, AFTRA’s constitution, Article XII sets no caveats as to which members can vote on the agreement.

However, since Exhibit “A” is no longer jointly negotiated under Phase One, it falls under Article XIII of the AFTRA Constitution. The fact that AFTRA is sending this actors contract, out to all its members, including those who don’t, or have never, worked it (Members such as D.J.’s, newsmen, weathermen and other broadcasters) violates AFTRA’s Constitution.

Ooops,again! B)B)

AFTRA Constitution Article XIII (Ratification All Other National Collective Bargaining Agreements, Contracts or Codes)

All other National Collective Bargaining Agreements, Contracts or Codes negotiated by the Union shall be submitted to the membership affected thereby for ratification either by (1) a majority vote of those of the members who vote thereon in a mail referendum ordered by the National Board under rules and regulations prescribed by it

Now, if any of these Disc Jockeys, news anchors, correspondents, weahtermen, or other broadcasters have pursued, or worked, this contract, certainly they would be affected members. But, on the other hand, if they have never, and this would apply to most of them, worked this contract, they certainly wouldn’t qualify as members affected by this agreement.

Therefore, if they are being allowed to vote on a contract that doesn’t affect them, it would be a violation of the AFTRA Constitution, and therefore a violation, subject to challenge with the Department of Labor leadership. (To put this in proper perspective, actors are not allowed to vote on broadcasters contracts.)

But then no one should be surprised by AFTRA’s disregard for its constitution; any leadership which refuses to let its own members verify its referendum results, or look at the contracts that they work under, certainly isn’t concerned about a couple of constitutional violations, ah that is, until it, once again, is forced to cooperate with the DOL!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

So, Tom Hanks, who has the same PR Firm that represents AFTRA, and Tom Hanks who is a producer that took his productions like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” to Canada, and “Band of Brothers” abroad, to avoid making them SAG productions, is supporting a contract that will put money in his pockets, at the expense of actors, is in favor of the AFTRA Contract.

Yet, another reason to Vote NO!

Remember, actors, a NO Vote on the AFTRA Exhibit A “Deal,” is a YES vote for your future ability to make a living.

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