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In light of our SAG CEO and President urging a dues increase, the Ol’ SAG Watchdog has urged them to go on record to assure the membership that none of this money will be used for any sort of merger between now and the end of the current TV/Theatrical Extension expiration!

They have claimed that they need a War Chest to convince the AMPTP that our union means business when it asks for a better contract–and an increase in DVD revenues.

Do they need a War Chest, and will they use it? I’m sure there will be much debate on that subject, and SW will try and get as much of it as possible on record in our new Feature called “Feedback!”

Here are both President Gilbert, Sec/Treasurer Cromwell, and CEO Pisano’s statements. You read them and you decide!

Dear SAG Member:

The SAG national board of directors voted overwhelmingly at its meeting this weekend to recommend to you an increase in SAG dues, and our member initiation fee, and to create a penalty for dues paid more than 60 days late.

This recommendation comes after careful review of our financial situation and with consensus
from board members across the country. We all share the same objective- to begin motion picture/television contract negotiations this fall from a position of strength, with the power of professional actors behind us and on solid financial ground.

SAG has operated year-after-year with budget deficits. Even with streamlining and cost saving measures in place, we continued to dip into our vital reserves to run the union. Not only does this jeopardize our future, it weakens us at the bargaining table. Management needs to know that we have a war chest and that we mean business.

This is about financial strength and bargaining leverage. This is not about merging with AFTRA; in fact, we will not discuss the issue until after our motion picture/television contract negotiations have been successfully concluded, and then only after we have broad consensus across the country regarding a plan.

As members, we have been asked to increase our dues just twice in 17 years. During that entire 17-year period, minimum dues went up just $15. We are asking that you approve raising minimum dues from $50 per dues period, to $65, and to increase the percentages of work dues. We must also curtail the amount of new members joining SAG by raising the initiation fee from $1365 to $2085. There are too few jobs to go around and more members just make matters worse.

We must also move in to the 21st Century with improved technology that enhances our ability to be hired, tracks talent payments and claims, and gets our checks to us faster.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible SAG members on May 7. We urge you to VOTE YES and mail your ballot immediately.

In solidarity,
Melissa Gilbert James Cromwell
President Secretary-Treasurer

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CEO Robert Pisano issued a statement stating “I will not recommend a (Consolidation/merger) plan that does not have broad consensus in Hollywood—and only after the TV/Basic deal is done!

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So there you go the OTHER SHOE has fallen. All your Ol’ editor can say is that if the Feedback we have been getting here at the Watchdog is any indication how the membership will vote on this dues increase, it definitely will not be a slam dunk!

However, should the membership trust the current leadership and give them their “needed” War Chest—and should they fail to get a GREAT CONTRACT, me thinks the membership will give them the BOOT!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

*The enclosed photo is not a rendition of You-Know-Whose butt!

**All formatting in this post is SW’s.