The War Over Digital is a LIE
by Brian Hamilton » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:24 pm
SAG members have been deliberately misled by a campaign of disinformation and a fabricated turf war.
When a labor organization is established by a group of workers, it forms what is correctly called a bargaining unit. The workers’ vote is supervised and protected by federal laws contained in the National Labor Relations Act. The main purpose for the formation of a labor organization is for the protection and advancement of the wages and working conditions of its members. Screen Actors Guild was formed in 1933, by actors who perform in front of a motion picture camera. That simple description defines the craft and the bargaining unit.
Now, many years later, members of Screen Actors Guild are being presented with a dilemma. They’re being told AFTRA is going to take more of SAG’s organized work because “digital has no jurisdiction” and they must merge with them to fix this or it will only get worse!
Screen Actors Guild represents actors who perform in front of the motion picture camera. It matters not whether an actor’s performance is captured and preserved on celluloid, videotape, in a data retrieval system, on a disk, cartridge, etc. The nature of the work being performed has not changed. The bargaining unit is still the same. The war over digital is a big fat lie.
Confused? Let’s put it in a different context: We all know what carpenters do. They build structures and dwellings from various building materials. In the beginning, they used primarily wood and nails. However, years down the line, sheetrock, fiberglass, composite material, innovative fasteners, etc. were introduced. It would be ludicrous to think that another union would then intercede and attempt to subsume the carpenters union’s bargaining unit, organizing the jobs simply because different building materials were now being used. Even worse, imagine forcing those carpenters to pay an exorbitant initiation fee to join the different union, simply to perform the same work they had always done before–now for less wages and benefits. It’s fairly easy to understand: using different building materials does not change the nature of the work being performed. It fits the carpenters’ bargaining unit. If this hypothetical situation were to actually occur, you can bet that the carpenters union would take immediate action to remedy the situation, to protect and preserve the bargaining unit it represents.
For decades, Screen Actors Guild had litigiously defended its bargaining unit. On several occasions, matters were quickly resolved via internal memos between legal departments. Other disputes were heard, and ultimately resolved, by the five member panel of federal judges on the National Labor Relations Board.
When someone is stealing from your business, the solution is not going into business with them.
Why has AFTRA been poaching SAG contracts with impunity in the last few years? It’s simple. Because they’ve been deliberately allowed to. This new merger proposition is simply an AFTRA take-over, facilitated from the inside. The war over digital lie provides David P. White, and his minions, the excuse to do nothing while AFTRA continually raids contracts from SAG (problem) instigating the anticipated outcry from the members (reaction) for a remedy which they’ve already conveniently prepared (solution). Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
Think about it: AFTRA cuts a deal with producers, negotiating its own contract paying the actors a cut rate. Same job, same actor–different union, less money. How does that benefit actors? So, who do you think is behind this push for merger? It’s pretty easy to figure this one out. As the Italians say, cui bono? (who benefits?) Certainly not the actors. Just follow the money…
PS: In my March 12, 2009 e-mail sent to David P. White, I made it abundantly clear that I was well aware of his plan. He never responded. (click to enlarge)