A lot of stuff will be happening at tomorrow’s Plenary. (10/17/09) The Seymour thing. Then in the afternoon around 3:pm a vote on the Interactive contract, and the NED David White issue later at the plenary
In a nutshell, here is what happened at the weekend’s plenary. Interim NED David White, sans any vetting process, was voted to be SAG’s new NED. Seymour Cassel’s two year suspension was upheld by the SAG board, but the Interactive agreement was not passed instead there will be caucuses in Hollywood, NY and the branches where the members in attendance will make a decision. This, of course, will give an edge to the go-along-to-get-along USAN/UFS supporters who want this thing passed, a decisive edge since they control those areas, where little of this type of work is done.
More info on exactly when these SAG Caucuses will be held. In the meantime there will be an AFTRA Caucus this Thursday 10/22/09. If you feel that we should NOT turn rank and file actors, in this agreement, into primarily background actors, you should attend this meeting. I will post the time and place when I get the exact information.
In his video conference to the membership meeting our new SAG President Ken Howard said we should all work together, which is rather ironic in that it was President Howard’s gang that showed NO solidarity when the TV/Theatrical contract was in negotiations under then SAG NED Doug Allen and President Alan Rosenberg. Sort of the “do as I say, not what I and my gang have done.”
You’ll remember that he and his pals gave aid and comfort to our employers by repeatedly parroting AMPTP propaganda, going as far as issuing a statement saying that the then negotiators demands were “unrealistic” and “unattainable.” Of course as is their MO, they never articulated what those unrealistic and unattainable gains were.
So, First thing Saturday morning at the plenary, the board will go into executive session for the Executive Legal report including Articles 14 and 13 covering the Disciplinary Trial Board Reviewtranslation they will have to deal with the Seymour Cassel issue. Later in the afternoon, they will be voting on the Interactive contract. I have been told that Gabrielle Carteris is telling fellow voice actors that actors she will be voting YES on the interactive contract this Saturday at the plenary because her fears of “non-union” production.
And before the plenary ends, the board will once again go into executive session at which time David Whites interim NED position will be discussed.
In the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to concerned SAG actors to put forth a summary of what has happened in regards to the Interactive contract.
September 8th – Interactive caucus held to discuss “atmospheric voices” which has been proposed by Interactive producers to both the SAG and AFTRA negotiators. ( Neither the negotiating committee for SAG nor the committee for AFTRA had been invited to participate in these negotiations – only SAG and AFTRA staff members have met to discuss this with producers. ) Though sparsely attended, the actors present at the caucus vote unanimously against the entire concept. The SAG Interactive negotiating committee had already voted NO to the concept on two previous occasions (by a vote of 4-3.)
September 30th – SAG Interactive negotiating committee meets and is told by staff that the Interactive contract is now a non-negotiable “done deal” including the “atmospheric voices” clause that the caucus and negotiating committee voted against. The committee is told that they must vote in favor because AFTRA’s committee has already voted to recommend it to the AFTRA Administrative Committee which is set to ratify the contract on October 14.
The SAG negotiating committee votes against the contract (4-3) but after one of the 4 NO votes leaves the meeting – after being told there would be no more votes – another vote is taken and now the vote is 4-3 in favor of the contract.
The NO votes demand a caucus which SAG staff inconveniently schedules for October 13th, the night before AFTRA is scheduled to ratify.
October 13th – A large contingent of interactive actors show up for the caucus and are shocked to learn that the “atmospheric voices” concept is a “done deal” and that they’ve been given no input on this subject whatsoever. They demand that SAG turn this contract down but are told by the staff that it will nevertheless be sent to the SAG Board on October 17th (though David White tells the room that he will make sure the SAG Board knows about the feelings expressed at the caucus.)
October 14th – 15 Interactive actors show up at the AFTRA lobby demanding to speak with Mathis Dunn before the AFTRA Administrative Committee is set to meet and ratify the contract. He tells them that he has received hundreds of emails and phone calls against the contract. The actors also speak with Board member Gabrielle Carteris and NED Kim Hedgpeth. They are assured that AFTRA “hears them” but Mathis Dunn says he is determined to “recommend” the contract to the AFTRA Administrative Committee.
October 14th – AFTRA announces via email blast that the AFTRA Administrative Committee has met and has “recommended the terms of the new agreement to the National Board for its approval on Oct. 24”, a reversal from the original plan to have the Administrative Committee RATIFY the contract. The email also states that “as previously planned” before there would be informational meetings held on October 22nd, but no one in the Interactive community has heard of such “previous plans” until the email of 10/14.
October 17th – The SAG National Board is set to vote on ratification of the contract. MembershipFirst has vowed to vote against the contract on behalf of the Interactive community. Unite For Strength has yet to make such a pledge. Gabriel Carteris is scheduled to be at the SAG Board meeting serving as a SAG National Board member for UFS. She has attended all of the Interactive caucuses and received many emails and phone calls, but has said she would vote for the contract.
So, basically this is a contract in which those who would be affected by it (the membership) had no hand in the Interactive negotiations. But then it goes along with what our new “go-along-to-get-along” president said during his interview on Fox Business News.
And there’s been presidents before, an example, although it was a long time ago, was Charlton Heston, who was the president of Screen Actors Guild for six years, at the height of his career, but there is a way, in terms of delegating to a very large staff, and you have to be able to trust those around you.
In fact the Ol’ Dog has been told by two independent sources that President Howard will be initiating his new “hands” off style at tomorrow’s plenary by not showing up.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
*The timeline was furnished to the Ol’ Dog by someone who has been following it every step of the way!