Classic first posted 19 April, 2003:
After exhaustive research, and hours and hours of man power, SAG Watchdog has finally found a USAN/Restore Respect supporter who absolutely believes everything that comes out of their propaganda machine.
Let’s go back to 2003. To see post with original soundtrack click below.
|In a scathing e-mail, New York Branch President Eileen Henry, head of the notoriously myopic “Double Vision” New York USAN/Restore Respect Slate, has accused award winning SAG Watchdog editor & Chief (and all around good guy A.L. Miller) of being insane!|
|Meanwhile, Ms. Henry’s despicable declaration has so incensed Mr. Miller’s “Close Personal Friend,” the always alluring Amanda Reckonwith–|
|that she has challenged Ms. Henry’s “Close Personal Friend” former SAG president Richard Masur to duke it out. Mano a mano!|
|Mr. Miller’s only explanation of the SAG Branch President’s ignoble, insanity indictment was “Apparently Ms. Henry is not crazy about our SAG Watchdog website!”|
|When asked if he planned to run Ms. Henry’s email through his Amazing DeBUNKolator, Abner Furbish III would only say that he was looking into the matter. *Insiders say Mr. Furbish is hesitant to run another USAN/Restore Respect document through his amazing machine so soon after the recent, near disastrous deBUNKolation during which the putrid propaganda triggered a massive overload of the Autospastic PukeOlator!|
|Mr. Furbish is said to spend much of his spare time since the recent incident perusing the Membership First! website which he calls a needed breath of fresh air. For your own personal breath of fresh air click the following link:Membership First!Note: *The above photographs are not in reality the actual participants, but are in fact professional look-a-likes hired for the occasion! ——-
The SAG Watchdog
In early June, SAG President Melissa Gilbert appeared on the Howard Stern radio show! She was there to promote the proposed Consolidation of SAG and AFTRA.
After being the butt of Stern’s prurient patter, she seemed a bit taken aback when informed that there was someone waiting on the phone to DEBATE her. Melissa deftly demurred, “It’s okay, I don’t HAVE to debate today!” Stern: “You don’t wanna debate??” Melissa: “NO.”
During an interlude when there was a problem connecting the caller, Melissa coquettishly countered, “Do you want me to call some people who support it?” Stern didn’t.
And… now she wants us to believe she seriously considered debating her opponent in this election, Kent McCord! Ah, Oooookay!
(There was a sound track with this post. If you’d like to see the post with the track, click link below.)
Hmmmm, have Ms. Gilbert and her pals ever wanted to debate?
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
SAG/AFTRA Merger: Leaked Mercer Report Raises Questions About Opposition Lawsuit (Exclusive) by Jonathan Handel
Does the 2003 study prove the anti-merger case as claimed? It’s time for union members to judge for themselves.
For almost a decade, proponents of a SAG/AFTRA merger have been haunted by the long shadow of a confidential study that opponents say proves that merging the unions would undermine SAG members’ pension and health benefits. Observers and activists generally feel that the study caused the defeat of a 2003 merger attempt that failed by 2 percent,
Indeed, just yesterday, merger opponents told a federal court in their litigation filing that the nine-year old study was still valid, apparently notwithstanding a myriad of intervening changes in the economy, plan details, the entertainment industry, and allocation of television work between the two unions.
“Based on the conclusions of the 2003 Mercer Report, Plaintiffs and the SAG membership will be imminently and irrevocably harmed” if merger proceeds, said the complaint, including by “diminution in value of member benefits, union funds, pension benefits, (and) health benefits.”
Likewise, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, SAG board member Anne-Marie Johnson, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that the Mercer Report had concluded that “any merger of the SAG pension and health plan with the AFTRA health and retirement plan would cause a diminution of benefits to SAG members.”
Days earlier, another plaintiff – anti-merger activist and former SAG board member Michael Bell – wrote that the Mercer Report “clearly showed a dimunition [sic] of benefits if SAG merged with AFTRA.”
But there’s a problem with this narrative: the report doesn’t “clearly show” any such thing. On the contrary, the 2003 document says that pension plan costs were likely to go up or benefits go down “with or without a merger” (p. 28).
Regarding the health plan, the report lists a variety of differences between SAG’s plan and AFTRA’s; the SAG plan looks better in more respects than AFTRA’s, but the report draws no conclusions as to what a merged plan might look like. It also lists various administrative savings that a merger could bring, but manages to quantify only some of them, and draws no conclusions as to whether the savings would make a material difference in benefits or plan health.
The report also speaks of “the broader benefits of a merger” (p. 5), a phrase scarcely consistent with the way it’s been publicly characterized by merger opponents. Ironically, those activists – who criticize AFTRA as being too compliant with management – adopted their gloss on the report from a leaked memo prepared by a studio executive who serves as one of the management-side trustees of the SAG P&H plan.
The Mercer report has also emerged as the archetype of the “impact report” that merger opponents demand that guild officials perform and excoriate them for refusing to do. They reject as inadequate the “feasibility report” the union prepared last month, which stated that plan mergers were legal, common and often beneficial, but didn’t analyze actuarial data specific to the SAG and AFTRA plans.
Instead, for instance, yesterday’s lawsuit echoes a call that the union “provide at least as much due diligence as was provided by the Mercer report.”
Likewise, Bell described with evident approval a guild member at a recent meeting who “confronted (union officials) about why SAG has not presented a Financial Impact Report like the Mercer Report from 03.” In addition, Johnson told THR the Mercer Report was “a detailed impact study,” and said that “a similar impact study” should be done now.
The difficulty with this theme is that the 44-page report is so hedged with alternatives, qualifiers and open-ended questions that it’s unclear whether an undecided union voter would find much value in the report, or even an updated equivalent.
Arl: Hmmm….then perhaps a more comprehensive one should be done before the process proceeds…you think?
Thus, although merger opponents and some undecided voters have insisted that the union specify the structure, premiums, benefits, eligibility criteria, co-pays and other details of the pension and/or health plans if the unions merge, they’d find that the Mercer Report, were it publicly available, would tell them none of these things.
Arl: Exactly why we need a report that specifies the structure, premiums, benefits, eligibility criteria, co-pays and other details of the pension and/or health plans before the unions even consider merger.
But the document isn’t publicly available, or hasn’t been. Locked away in a small number of file cabinets across the city, the report has remained an abstraction, freighted with anger and fear, accepted with certitude as damning proof by many who’ve never even seen it, and exulted for utility it may not actually have.
Arl: But it does provide enough ambiguity to demand that a more complete report be done.
Were it available, union members would be able to judge for themselves whether the report has been accurately characterized and whether a report of this sort, even if updated to reflect current data, would have sufficient value to justify halting the merger referendum in its tracks in order to perform such a study.
Arl: Yes, but that’s not the issue which is why can’t a report be done before a vote, so as members can make an informed vote that affects THEIR FUTURE.
The Ol’ Watch Dog
Thanks to Mr. Handel for making this available. Thus making us realize how much we need a much more comprehensible document available before we make a vote that will effect our future, and the future of our beloved union.
When CEO Bob Pisano, affectionately known as Whipsaw, took over the reigns at SAG he promised to modernize the joint by replacing the over employment and CUTTING COST!
In his fervor to cut over employment, HEADS HAVE ROLLED! Especially heads that mouthed opinions that disagreed with “It’s My Way Or the Highway” Pisano! Mr. Pisano’s favorite exclamation is “if you don’t like it FIRE ME!” To be fair, Mr. Pisano practices what he preachesif you’re staff, and he don’t like your actions “He FIRES YOU!”
According to Roger Armbrust’s, incisive, investigative Backstage Article “SAG listed 418 employees (down from 490 the previous year)—-including 69 workers listed as “terminated” (also down from last years 105).
As we said in our SW Headline, the main problem with all of this head rolling is that it hasn’t resulted in any salary rollbacks. In fact, according to the LM-2s, the staff payroll & expenses haven’t DECREASED— but have INCREASED from $13,947,364 in 2002 up to $14,094,736 in 2003. So much for big savings to the membership. But on the other hand one might assume that those noggins still attached along with those recently imported will be loyal disciples of the “Word According to Whipsaw!” Especially those members of the Executive Staff!
As spelled out in Armbrust’s article, Twenty-three staff members were listed with six-figure salaries and disbursements: Robert Pisano, national executive director/chief executive officer, $468,323 ($425,426 salary, $42,897 expenses); John T. McGuire, senior advisor, $268,714 ($222,316 salary, $46,398 expenses); F.L. Hickson, national executive director for administration/chief financial officer, $224,934 ($216,216 and $8,718); Sallie Weaver, deputy national executive director, $212,649 ($195,901 and $16,748); SAG general counsel David Alter, $211,372 ($208,885 salary, $2,487 expenses); Deputy National Executive Director Hollis Batchelor, $197,625 ($127,272 and $70,353); Pam W. Fair, national director of policy, $193,830 ($172,392 and $21,438); V.L. Gutin, assistant general counsel, $156,014 ($155,563 and $451); David White, general counsel, $144,520 ($125,124 and $19,396); B.J. Kite, chief information officer, $143,064 ($134,005 and $9,059); B.M. Ellis, national human resources director, $138,005 ($123,225 and $14,780); M.R. Steinberg, special counsel, $137,517 ($128,172 and $9,345); S.G. Rose, national commercials director, $130,449 ($124,162 and $6,287); A.E. Talltree, national entertainment director, $129,332 ($126,504 and $2,828); C.P. Winnor, national controller, $128,825 ($128,493 and $332); T.D. Bergmann, listed as a research director, $123,828 salary, no expenses; H. Berkowitz, director of IT and Telcom, $117,632 (108,862 and $8,770); J.I. Simmons, NY executive director, $117,120 ($109,173 and $7,947); R.M. Lateiner, also listed as a research director, $110,451 ($110,339 and $112); and Ilyanne Kichaven, communications director, $103,817 ($103,692 and $125).
Compare all of these generous salaries with Melissa’s recent e-mail when she tried to cancel a Hollywood Board meeting because she felt it was “inappropriate for the Guild itself to incur any expenses to provide that the meeting take place.
Oh, by the way, the above quoted figures don’t include Mr. Pisano’s recent hefty bump in salary.
Finally, in inspecting the figures which include expense accounts for Mr. Pisano $42,897 dollars and Ms. Gilbert’s $30,294, you gotta love R.M. Lateiner *whose expenses totaled $112 dollars— and Ilyanne Kichaven of $125. Heads off.ah, rather Hats off guys.
Hmmm, me think’s your humble SW Editor & Chief would rather be invited to lunch by Whipsaw or Melissa than R.M. or Ms. Kichaven!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief.