A couple of years ago, AFTRA only had one basic cable scripted dramatic cable show. But due to their low-balling and poaching of SAG’s contracts, with inferior minimums and residual giveaways, they now have just at forty percent of those contracts, including all but one of the half-hour shows.
Meanwhile as SAG does nothing, they continue to pick actors pockets to put money in AFTRA’s coffers.
And what has our leadership done about it. They’ve issued a petition proposing cooperation with AFTRA. Well, while they continue to try and make nice, as the following notice from AFTRA makes abundantly clear, the emboldened AFTRA leadership of broadcasters and voice-over performers–who already have one hand in SAG actors pockets, are preparing to finish them off– by stabbing them in the back with the other hand, during SAG’s upcoming 2008 TV/Theatrical negotiations.
AFTRA, until now, has limited itself to going after digital shows on primetime. A close reading of the carefully worded document above, reveals an implied threat that AFTRA will no longer limit its organizing to digital shows. Thus making it fairly obvious that as far as AFTRA is concerned cooperation is over and it will be going after shows under SAG’s jurisdiction.
And, even though their jurisdiction only covers shows shot in the manner of a live broadcast, they intend to go to war with SAG. And that they will do it by trying to undermine SAG’s negotiations and poach our network primetime shows with their producer friendly “whatever you want” contracts that include free network streaming and residual giveaways.
And still, our leadership vacillates, not really sure how to handle the situation, instead of rallying the troops and standing up to AFTRA’s declaration of war.
AFTRA has stated publicly that they will be going after SAG’s Primetime Contracts! And SAG is still talking about cooperation
Have our leaders gone CRAZY. Instead of still talking about cooperation our NED and President should issue a joint statement to the press that SAG will take ALL STEPS NECESARRY TO PROTECT ITS JURISDICTION.
You want to get high-profile actors attention, let the trades make them aware that AFTRA is going after ALL of SAG’s jurisdiction–and that will do it. Too much of what is going on is going unnoticed by most of our working actors.
The Ol’ Dog was having stogies with a couple of well-known actors at a local smoke shop a while back. One, a series regular, didn’t mince words over the situation. His remedy was to the point. “F*ck AFTRA.”
So, instead of pussyfooting around with those who would destroy our union, what should we do?
Well, for starters, instead of meetings with the AFL-CIO’s actors jurisdictional arm, the 4A’s, with endless haggling about whether AFTRA can leave the organization–let’s cut to the chase, and get a ruling on THEIR OWN DAMN CHARTER.
The one, that we’ve posted a photocopy of on this website. You remember, the one that gives SAG jurisdiction over ALL acting on television, except that done in a live manner.
You can read the document in the article on this website.
But, while the 4A’s is considering that, SAG’s leadership shouldn’t wait. But, rather they should act immediately, and take every action necessary to assert SAG’s jurisdiction, in order to protect SAG actors’ residuals and Pension & Health.
Not only should SAG do everything to inform the membership how they are being screwed by AFTRA, but they should be given SAG’s plan of action to stop AFTRA’s jurisdiction raiding.
And after SAG has informed the membership, it should immediately have a referendum to LET SAG ACTORS DECIDE WHO THEY WANT TO REPRESENT THEM ON ALL ACTING ON TELEVISION.
Next SAG, as is their right, should inform employers that should they make contracts with any union, for shows that are under SAG’s jurisdiction, they will make them without SAG Actors. (The ability to enforce this is in SAG’s constitution.)
Can AFTRA try and take SAG to court. Sure, anyone can sue anyone. But without the support of actors, and with the jurisdiction charter based on a previous NLRB elections, on SAG’s side, I don’t they’d get too far.
In the meantime, if you were a producer, or studio, would you go to AFTRA and risk millions of dollars on a project, if you could use only AFTRA actors.
The Hollywood membership voted out the “go-along-to-get-along” Restore Respect leaders because of their inaction and weak contracts that were enabled by our AFTRA partners–under the Phase One cooperative agreement. Well, guess what, its time now for them to stand up and do what members elected them to do.
Look, all the blame does not rest on the shoulders of our NED Doug Allen, or president Alan Rosenberg, or our Hollywood board. Most of it can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the SAG Membership. They asked for your support and guidance, unfortunately, the only ones that made their voices heard was a tight-knit group of broadcasters and voice-over performers with their pro AFTRA and ATA capitulation message.
NED Allen, laid out how AFTRA was screwing members, yet the bulk of the (form) letters that he received, were from this same group and were critical of his article. You know, New York and branch USAN supporters. The same ones that used their board seats, and official status, to urge members to sign a petition of AFTRA propaganda on a website maintained by, you go it, AFTRA.
If you don’t want to end up in a couple of years watching the AFTRA awards on TV, instead of the SAG Awards, you damn well better get involved, and let our leadership know that there are members who will stand by them, when they take direct action to not only protect our interests, but the interest of our great guild.
The first step, and it won’t take a lot of time on your part, is to go to this link http://www.gopetition.com/online/15560.html and sign the only petition that I’ve read that advocates that SAG protects its jurisdiction.
Hmmm, I see that NED Allen has sent out the SAG Cooperation petition for more signatures. How long will it be before every one gets that AFTRA is not interested in SAG’s cooperation but, rather, it’s capitulation.
Personally, it’s the Ol’ Dog’s opinion that cooperation with AFTRA, after it has raided your jurisdiction, is sort of like getting cozy with a burglar you caught leaving your house with your things.
Look, if we enforce our jurisdiction, there will be no need for Phase One, because when AFTRA stops its poaching of SAG’s contracts–all actors will be under one roof–SAG’s!
In regards to AFTRA’s Leadership’s plan to undermine SAG’s TV/Theatrical Negotiations, I pretty much go along with the sentiments of that series regular I smoked a stogie with.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Okay, now what would go good while I read NED Doug Allen’s latest email? Huh, yeah, well now there’s a thought.