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This just appeared on the SAG Website! SAG Watchdog comments are highlighted!

SAG AGREES TO PROVIDE CRUCIAL WAIVER TO STRENGTHEN HEALTH SERVICES FOR ITS MEMBERS! ( In a deal that usurps you and your agent’s right to get you the best deal possible when dealing with employers. Oh, by the way it appears to also be unconstitutional! Read Article V at the end of this post!)

Los Angeles (July 7, 2004) Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today granted a waiver to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MTPF) (Huh? Hmmm, I didn’t know we had a collective bargaining contract with the MTPFlet me check, nope they aren’t signatories.) which provides tens of thousands of SAG members in the Los Angeles area with critical health and human services that will directly strengthen the MPTF’s core services to members of the entertainment community. (This is a deal that was previously rejected by the TV/Theatrical Standing Committee, but that was before those in a leadership position got their Restore Respect troops “to-go-along-to-give away.”)Today’s action by SAG will result in entertainment product company, Hasbro, providing a $1 million advance to the MPTF as part of Hasbro’s development of a new DVD game, the proceeds from which will also be shared with the Fund for the expansion of their services.(It will also result in a sweetheart deal that will enable Hasbro to avoid making individual deals with each performer thus saving them untold millions.) The rare waiver granted by SAG…(I’ll say it’s rare! The last one this rare was granted to MCA. You remember that one? It allowed MCA the right to have their own production company. You remember that one? It was eventually overturned only after charges of racketeering were in the process of being filed by the then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.}… will allow for the use of its members’ voices and likenesses in the game, though normally such uses would involve consent of the individual members.( Hello! Normally would involve the consent of the member? Excuse me, but if they want to use a clip of my voice they will have to deal with my agent!) Additionally, the Fund will create a royalty pool for the benefit of individual SAG members whose performance appears in the game. These SAG members will have the option of collecting their royalties or contributing their royalties back to the Fund.(Hmmm, now there’s a couple of great choices! Either take the MINIMAL deal THEY negotiated for you, or turn your money over to charity! Have CEO Bob, Melissa and her crowd even bothered to read SAG’s constitution? Article 11, section 4, states “Maximum rate of compensation of any member of the guild from any producer of motion pictures shall never be fixed or regulated by the guild.”)

“We granted this waiver to take care of our own,” (that seems to be readily apparent)said SAG President Melissa Gilbert. (The rest of this is just tap dancing. A diversion from the fact that you, my fellow SAG member, have just been royally screwed.). “Each year, tens of thousands of SAG members are cared for by the services provided by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. In the long tradition of SAG support for its community, this waiver will ensure that the Fund can continue to provide the best services possible for our members, while also ensuring that our members whose likenesses are used in the game have a stake in the proceeds. This is about actors doing what they can to strengthen the Motion Picture & Television Fund.”

Each year, the Motion Picture & Television Fund serves tens of thousands of SAG members:

This year, the Fund expects 120,000 visits to its patient health centers in the Los Angeles area. An estimated 20 percent of those patients are SAG members over 24,000 people who will receive full outpatient care.

Of the roughly 4,000 people that took advantage on the Fund’s free counseling services last year, an estimated 35 percent were members of SAG.

The Fund works with the SAG Foundation to provide cash payments to SAG members who are without health coverage in order to ensure they have access to health care.

“The MTPF Foundation must raise approximately $16 million to serve the growing needs of the community,” said Ken Scherer, CEO of Motion Picture & Television Foundation. “This act by Screen Actors Guild is in the long tradition of SAG support for the Fund, which has allowed it to grow and serve literally hundreds of thousands of members of this community from both in front of and behind the camera.

“Those wishing to contribute to the Motion Picture & Television Fund can do so by calling 818-876-1900 or through www.mptvfund.org

About the Motion Picture & Television Fund

The non-profit Motion Picture & Television Fund, headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA, was founded in 1921 to provide “relief” for those in the film industry who had fallen on hard times. Today, 83 years later, MPTF is a major service provider supporting the health and well being of the entertainment community. Health care, childcare, retirement living, and social/charitable services are offered with compassion and respect for the dignity of the whole person. Care is offered through the MPTF 256-bed hospital, five outpatient health centers, charitable financial assistance and community outreach programs, a full-scale retirement community, and a children’s day care center. Visit us at www.mptvfund.org

About SAGScreen Actors Guild is the nation’s premier labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 working actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG on-line at www.sag.org

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Uh, I’m sure we will hear more on this later. Gosh, I wonder how our agents are going to feel about this? Hmmmm, a thought! Do you think Hasbro has embedded unions busters amongst us?

A.L. Miller Editor & Chief WOOF !

A reading of various articles of the SAG Constitution indicates that under the circumstances this deal is most likely UNCONSTITUTIONAL For instance, it was neither approved by the National Board or the National Executive Committee. Article V, Section 1, H.,3.d of the SAG Constitution states “The National Board has the final exclusive authority with regard to the following matters, except that the National Board may delegate that final authority at its discretion: (d) approving significant and precedential waivers to major collective bargaining agreements,except that the N.E.C. may approve such a waiver if the Board of Directors cannot do so in a timely fashion;”

Now does anyone honestly believe that this unconstitutional waiver granted by THE TV THEATRICAL STANDING COMMITTEE, which is controlled by Melissa and her Restore Respect gang, is neither significant or precedential!

Or how about this portion of the constitution: Membership ratification ARTICLE XI

Collective Bargaining, Agreements & Ratification

Section 1. “Except as set forth in Section 2 of this Article, all collective bargaining contracts negotiated by the Guild shall be submitted for ratification to the membership affected thereby. Such ratification may be made either (a) by written vote of a majority of the members voting thereon, at a National Membership meeting or a special meeting called for such purpose, or (b) by written vote of a majority of the members voting thereon, in a mail ballot.

However, membership ratification shall not be required with respect to amendments made during the term of a collective bargaining contract 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.”

Once again does anyone out there see this precedent setting waiver as being minor in nature. Whether a waiver or amendment, isn’t our constitution trying to tell us that before opening such a monumentally, murky Pandora’s Box, the membership should be consulted in a referendum

Under Civil Code 3344, an artist now controls his/her likeness. Are we now to give up that control because of CEO Bob, Melissa and the Restore Respect agenda?

*My colleague SAG member Terrence Beasor helped compile some of the research for this article.