In a dangerous precedent AFTRA Board members were allowed to exert their influence in deciding what information SAG members will or will NOT get concerning the current collective bargaining proposal! SAG Watchdog EXCLUSIVE! A copy of The 1998 SAG National Board Policy governing a Minority Report. You’ve heard about it! Read it and decide who’s been telling the truth! In an egregious dismissal of SAG Board Policy, the current SAG Leadership has allowed Phase One’s ‘Joint’ Board to deny a Minority Report to SAG members in regards to the current Collective Bargaining proposal! This even though the Joint Board has NO AUTHORITY to do so!
This means that even though over 25 percent of the SAG Board voted against the current proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement, a mandated Minority Report will not be sent out to SAG members. And just as was the case in the failed Consolidation referendum SAG members will be forced to vote on an issue without getting both perspectives of the proposal.
In an effort to find out what the hell is going on, SAG Watchdog contacted SAG to get a copy of the 1998 SAG National Board Policy regarding a Minority Report and any other info that might be pertinent. Here is an exclusive SAG Watchdog gander at that policy.
JANUARY 1998 SAG NATIONAL BOARD POLICY
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE GGRC DIRECTS the NATIONAL BOARD THAT IN INSTANCES WHEN AT LEAST 25% OF THE NATIONAL BOARD EXPRESSES DISAPROVAL OF A CONTRACT OR REFERENDUM, THAT A MINORITY REPORT BE REQUIRED TO ACCOMPANY SUCH REFERENDUM; AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THAT THE NATION BOARD OF SAG RECOMMEND THIS SAME POLICY FOR JOINT PHASE 1 CONTRACTS.
Both boards voted separately on the proposal! SAG voted first. Accordingly, the moment to the SAG Board reached a 25% disapproval of the contract a Minority Report was required.
However, the current leadership is trying to tell members that the Joint Boards rejection of a Minority Report overrides SAG’s Board Policy.
They cite Article X1 Section 3. (B) of SAG’s Constitution to support their contention. “The provisions of the Phase 1 Agreement shall govern in the event of any conflict between the Guild and this Constitution and By-Laws, relating to matters covered by the Phase 1 Agreement.”
In SAG Watchdog’s opinion this is a bogus argument in that the Phase 1 agreement is very specific in delegating authority to the Joint board. “Any proposed collective bargaining agreement will be considered by the Joint Negotiating Committee and its recommendations pro or con will be submitted to the Joint Board of Directors. If approved by the Joint Board of Directors, the proposed contract will be submitted by mail referendum to the membership of each union. A majority vote of the combined membership voting shall be required for ratification. Each eligible member of either AFTRA or SAG (or both) will be allotte4d one vote, i.e., if a person is a member of both unions, he or she shall be entitled to cast only one vote. The mailing to the membership shall be a joint mailing.”
Nowhere in that paragraph, or in the entire Phase 1 agreement does it give the Joint Board carte blanche over all matters in conjunction with Phase 1. For instance, could the Joint Board decree qualified voting for this vote? SAG Watchdog thinks not! Phase 1 limits the Joint Board’s authority to the approval of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That’s it! It says nothing, nor indicates anywhere, that the JB may establish extemporaneous policy that overrides SAG board policy.
Taking it one step further, even if the Joint Board hadn’t overstep their authority, their decision not to issue a Minority Report would not preclude the SAG Board from following their own policy and issuing one.
The fact that another union should have any say in what information is disseminated to SAG members is not only wrong–but if allowed to happen unchallenged will set a dangerous precedent.
In our discussions with SAG, SAG Watchdog asked for clarification on exactly which PROVISION of the Phase One Agreement the current leadership was basing their decision denying a Minority Report to SAG’s membership. They have yet to get back to us. In the meantime, the ballots are in the mail. And the membership is in the dark!
So, members will be receiving a ballot without any indication that a substantial portion of the SAG Board rejects the proposed agreement which is being described as one of the weakest in SAG History.
SAG Watchdog’s Editor & Chief A.L. Miller
Here is the Phase One Agreement for your perusal pursuing that proverbial Phase 1 provision.
Phase 1 Agreement APPENDIX I
Agreement between Screen Actors Guild, Inc., and
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
Regarding Joint Collective Bargaining
THIS AGREEMENT, COMMONLY KNOWN AS PHASE I, ENTERED into between SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, INC., hereinafter referred to as “SAG”, and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS, hereinafter referred to as “AFTRA”.
1. JOINT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BODIES. In order to implement the Agreement hereinafter contained, the following bodies will be convened:
(A.) JOINT WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS COMMITTEE. The joint Wages and Working Conditions Committee will be composed of an equal number of representatives from AFTRA and SAG, such representatives to be selected by their respective Board of Directors, or as the Boards shall otherwise designate. Each member of the Committee will have one vote in each and every ballot taken. AFTRA and SAG shall each designate one representative as a Co-Chairperson of the Committee.
(B.) JOINT NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE. The Joint Board of Directors has the authority with respect to the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements. The Joint Negotiating Committee will be composed of an equal number of representatives from AFTRA and SAG, such representatives to be selected by, and responsible to, their respective Board of Directors and to the Joint Board referred to below. Each member of the Committee will have one vote in each and every ballot taken. AFTRA and SAG shall each designate one representative as a Co-Chairperson of the Committee. Negotiations shall be conducted by the Chief Negotiator(s) with the advice and consent of the Joint Negotiating Committee*.
(C.) JOINT BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Each board member of AFTRA and SAG will have a vote in each and every ballot taken by the Joint Board of Directors. Voting will be by those members in attendance at the Joint Board of Directors’ meetings. A majority of those voting in all three Sections shall constitute the binding vote of the Joint Board.
All members of the individual Boards of Directors will be members of the Joint Board of Directors. If a member of either Board of Directors is also a member of the other Board, such Board member shall be entitled to cast the appropriate vote with each individual Board of Directors in determining the vote of that Board of Directors as part of the Joint Board.
2. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING PROPOSALS. Initially, proposals will be developed by the Joint Wages and Working Conditions Committee. Subsequently, these proposals will be submitted to the Joint Board of Directors for its consideration.
3. STRIKE AUTHORIZATION. The Joint Board of Directors will vote to determine whether a
strike authorization referendum should be conducted. The strike authorization vote will be conducted by referendum of the membership of the combined AFTRA/SAG unions. Each eligible member of either AFTRA or SAG (or both) will be allotted one vote, i.e., if a person is a member of both unions, he or she shall be entitled to cast only one vote in any such referendum. The mailing to the membership regarding such referendum shall be a joint mailing.
Any strike must be authorized by a minimum of seventy-five percent (75%) of the total votes cast. The parties to this Agreement shall agree upon an impartial third party to tabulate the vote and shall share the cost thereof.
4. STRIKE CALL. Any order implementing such strike shall be adopted by the Joint Board of Directors and shall require a majority vote.
5. CONTRACTS DURING STRIKES. Policy regarding contracts to be tendered to employers during a strike shall be made by the Joint Board.
6. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CONTRACT RATIFICATION. Any proposed collective bargaining agreement will be considered by the Joint Negotiating Committee and its recommendations pro or con will be submitted to the Joint Board of Directors. If approved by the Joint Board of Directors, the proposed contract will be submitted by mail referendum to the membership of each union. A majority vote of the combined membership voting shall be required for ratification. Each eligible member of either AFTRA or SAG (or both) will be allotted one vote, i.e., if a person is a member of both unions, he or she shall be entitled to cast only one vote. The mailing to the membership shall be a joint mailing.
*FOOTNOTE: It is understood that, when the Joint Negotiating Committee fails to consent to any action which the Chief Negotiator(s) proposes, the difference will be resolved by the Joint Board of Directors.
Membership ratification shall not be required with respect to amendments to a collective bargaining agreement during the term of the collective bargaining agreement which are of a minor nature, or which are required for purposes of clarification, or to resolve problems arising in the administration of the contract. However, such changes shall be subject to the approval of the Joint Board.
7. STRIKE SUSPENSION PENDING RATIFICATION. The Joint Board of Directors shall have the right to determine whether an ongoing strike should be suspended pending ratification of a contract and to order the combined membership back to work.
8. INFORMATIONAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS. Informational membership meetings in connection with the negotiations and contract ratification shall be held and shall be joint membership meetings.
9. AREAS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING COVERED. The within Agreement will be applicable to the following collective bargaining agreements.
(A.) Theatrical Motion Pictures and Prime Time Television (Television Prime Time Dramatic Programs for AFTRA only); Cable and Pay Television;
(B.) Commercials Television and Radio;
(C.) Industrial and Educational;
(D.) Public Television.
10. APPROVAL OF AGREEMENT. The within Agreement shall be recommended to the individual Boards of Directors of each union for adoption.
11. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Agreement will become effective after both unions have approved it.
12. The AFTRA National President’s Committee and the SAG National Executive Committee, hereinafter referred to as “the Committees”, agree to recommend to their respective National Boards and committees studying merger that any format for ultimate merger include the study of the following characteristics of the present AFTRA structure: (a) Locals, autonomous within the broad limits of a national constitution, with Local treasuries; (b) the right of Locals to set their own dues and initiation fees, with a standard per capita tax to the national; (c) protection of categories of members (performers, announcers, dancers, newspersons, singers, sportscasters, et al), so that the numbers of one category do not overwhelm the interest of any other categories; (d) convention system which includes delegate representation of all categories and all Locals.
13. The Committees agree to recommend that the consolidation of the respective pension plans be studied so that it may ascertained (a) what, if any, merger plan can be achieved which will satisfy the requirements of law and the protection of all eligible members against loss of benefits, presently or in the future; and (b) the willingness of industry trustees to consolidate the plans.
AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO THIS 15TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 1981
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS
S/CHESTER L. MIGDEN S/SANFORD I. WOLFF
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE SECRETARY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE SECRETARY