–but campaign to deny you a chance to let your voice be heard in referendum And, oh, my GOD! Could this be Alex Baldwin and USAN/UFS choice for a new Chief Negotiator
First the following producer propaganda ad came directly off the USAN website which reflects the views of its leadership including Richard Masur, his wife Eileen Henry, Sam Freed and the rest of the g-along-to-get-along” gang. We’ll hear from Ms. Henry after the following.
Oh, and don’t Miss a SAG Watchdog Exclusive Bulletoon with a photograph of Alex Baldwin’s personal choice to replace Doug Allen as SAG’s Chief Negotiator.
CAN YOU AFFORD A STRIKE?
THE ECONOMY IS IN TURMOIL!
Our country’s financial system is tanking and we are officially in a recession. Our last strike crippled us economically and increased runaway and non-union work.
Ah, okay the country is in a recession; The banks and auto industry are being bailed out. But movie boxoffice is up 2% over last year and expected to go up even more over the holidays. So, even though our employers are still making billions off our work, we’re supposed to sell out our future for a recession that is supposed to end in mid 2009. Well, duh!
Oh, and the big lie that our last strike crippled us economically. Well, ah, duh, again. Actually, if we had not struck and, instead, had taken the producers deal, the numbers from both our employers and SAG confirm that instead of $800 million in commercial revenue, SAG actors would have only had revenue of about $500 million. Here are the undisputed numbers:
1999: $636 million dollars
2000: $532 million dollars
2001: $563 million dollars
2002: $616 million dollars
2003: $664 million dollars
2004: $729 million dollars
2005: estimated to be around $ 800 million dollars.
The truth is this; Although the immediate losses were tough, we are in a much better position now than if we had given up class A and had not received that 140% bump in cable. Instead of earning $800 million, we would probably be around the $400 million to $500 million-dollar range which would have been devastating to not only our pocketbooks but to our P&H plan.
RESIDUALS THE END IS NOT NEAR!ALL RESIDUALS in traditional media actually INCREASE with this deal. The residual formula for direct downloads of movies is an increase on the DVD formula. There are residuals in the new media deal, except for low budget projects.
More misleading bunk that parrots what employers are saying. Yes, there is a average increase in traditional medial. SAG NED Doug Allen has said publicly if this contract were simply about traditional media, we would have had a contract long ago. But it’s not about traditional media, it’s about new media formulas and precedents that will, in reality, take away SAG’s jurisdiction and residuals for decades to come. I love it when they say “There are residuals.” Reminds me of the great scene between Brando and Steiger when he tells his boxer brother who was forced to take a dive, “You saw some money!” Well, members are being asked by USAN/UFS board members to take a dive. But, but…they’ll see some money. Oh, and just so we’re all straight on one fact.
The only residuals paid that will be paid are: Residuals for new-media work would be limited to content that costs more than $25,000 per minute. (Hollywood Reporter 11/17/95)
Despite USAN/UFS misleading claim that “there are residuals in the new media deal, except for low budget projects,” the truth is quite different. In fact, there will be practically NO RESIDUALS paid in new media in the foreseeable future. Although not technically lying to members, by evasive, misrepresentation of the facts, they are certainly morally lying to them. And, in doing so, they are a disgrace to our great guild.
NEW MEDIA – WE MUST PROTECT OURSELVES!
The deal on the table GIVES US JURISDICTION in new media, which WE CURRENTLY DO NOT HAVE! Producers can do low budget production NOW with non-union talent through their shell companies. Under this proposal the moment a professional performer is used the entire job GOES UNION. AFTRA, the DGA, and WGA have all recognized the importance of this strategy. It guarantees the unions the information needed to craft meaningful proposals in 2008.
More hyperbole; The idea that the moment a professional performer is used that the project goes union is little more than wishful thinking. Especially, in light of the fact that under this producer designed provision, it is the producer that makes the determination if the actor is a “covered” performer or not. And once SAG sanctions signatory non-union productions, it will be to quote our former SAG president, “the wild-west out there.” With that kind of mandate from SAG, how difficult will it be for producers to convince desperate actors that the union has no problem with them doing non-union work, ah, as long as they go fi-core.
As to producers “can do non-union now” argument; yeah, well SAG can file unfair labor charges, and terminate their signatory status. If you think about it, it is a rather hollow argument to urge members to sign such a giveaway agreement because employers can circumvent the agreement anyway. Duh!
THE AUTHORIZATION OF A STRIKE VOTE WILL NOT GIVE US LEVERAGE.
We’ve been working without a contract for over 5 months. Producers will not change their position because of a threat or a strike. A vote to authorize is a vote to strike.
Oh, really. Next these pseudo psychics will be telling us that they have channeled Lew Wasserman. Oh, and ain’t there a bit contradiction in their claim that ‘a vote to authorize’ is a vote to strike. On one hand they now claim to control the Nation Board, but, on the other hand, they allege that “a vote to authorize is a vote to strike.” But, hold on. Only the SAG board is authorized to call a strike. And they control that board. Hmmm…? So, in essence, what our duplicitous gang is say is this.
“Don’t vote to authorize a strike, or we’ll call one!”
NOT NOW VOTE NO!
You have the power to vote to end the uncertainty of working without a contract.
It’s the never ending plea of go-along-to-get-alongs “Now is not a good time to strike.” If now is not a good, when employers are trying to undermine SAG’s core principle of not allowing signatories to do non-union shows while implementing their first step in their publicly announced intention of getting rid off all residuals, then when is? Look, no one wants a strike, and a strike authorization is the only bargaining tool that a union has. The question should not be, is it a good time to strike, but, rather, is it a necessary time to do so. And how will we get the producers to relent and take some of their rollbacks like Force Majeure without a strike authorization? Speaking of Force Majeure, if we don’t take it off the table, it will bring our actors currently in arbitration between forty and four hundred Million dollars owed to them because of violations of our current agreement by the producers during the WGA strike. Hmmm…the AMPTP claims their deal will bring actors 250 million in new revenues over the breath of the contract. But, but, wait if we sign their deal to give up our current Force Majeure claims on behalf of our members…instead of bring us two hundred and fifty million dollars it could cost us one hundred and fifty million dollars. No, don’t bother to check the AMPTP website. You won’t find that little tidbit there.
OR WOULD YOU RATHER BE OFFICIALLY OUT OF WORK FOR MONTHS?
A more pertinent question; Would you rather be out of work for months? Or would you rather sell out to producers, on unfavorable provisions that will impact your ability, and future generations, ability to make a living for DECADES to come?
And, any conscientious SAG member, in determining their obligation to our great guild, should ask themselves a question in deciding if they are worthy of being a member; Would they have all of the benefits that the Screen Actor’s Guild offers, such as Pension & Health and Residuals, if our predecessors had not sacrificed for these things by either threatening, or actually going on strike? And don’t they have the same obligation to, not only themselves and other members, both current and in the future, to do the same.
As to those USAN/UFS members who are openly siding with employers, and by doing so, giving them aid and comfort, what can I say, but, perhaps they should take the coats off their backs and reverse them to their fronts.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Another goody from the USAN website, the mouthpiece for New York’s “go-along-to-get-along’ leadership, Eileen Henry.
By Eileen Henry
Why I’m voting NO on the Strike Authorization Referendum?
Because you think ONLY you and your husband Richard Masur and your fellow USAN/AFTRA/AMPTP First supporters voices should be heard?
The Board’s responsible decision in October to try and bail out the negotiations and save face for SAG/LA leadership by involving a mediator demonstrated maturity and fiscal responsibility in an organization that has gained a reputation for knee-jerk, emotional responses. I congratulate those members of the NY Board, the Regional Branch Division and the new members of the Hollywood Board who have remained calm and clear-headed during very difficult times. These board members’ intention was for the negotiating committee to go back to the table (something that hadn’t happened since July) in a good faith attempt to finally negotiate the agreement that the WGA, DGA and AFTRA have all signed on to. Instead, the committee put DVDs back on the table ensuring the mediation would go nowhere. Even the WGA took their DVD proposal off the table before their strike. The vote in the negotiating committee to send out the Strike Authorization Referendum was not unanimous indicating that some members of the SAG team understand the realities and subsequently where the deal lies.
You’ve heard most of this El Foldo crap before. But, you notice how these people dance around the facts! The thing about the strike authorization is Ms. Henry’s way of getting around the intent of the SAG board. No, it wasn’t unanimous; 97% of the negotiating team voted in favor of the strike authorization referendum while only 3% voted against it. The vote was 15 to 2 for the authorization referendum–which means that even an overwhelming majority of the New York and branch negotiators voted along with the Hollywood negotiators in favor of the authorization referendum. Contrary to what Ms. Henry proclaims, the truth is that 97 percent of them understand the realities and subsequently where the deal lies. As to the lies part will leave those up to Ms. Henry.
Now it’s the memberships’ turn to weigh in on this important issue. While I have never, ever voted against a strike authorization in my life I will quickly cast my no vote and hope that many members do the same. A strike authorization is a tool of leverage for your negotiator and negotiating committee but it’s crystal clear that the timing is wrong. It’s time for the membership to look behind the curtain and see the naked emperor. Only then can we clothe him and send him on his way.
The only thing going on with this producer propaganda is naked lies from someone who is giving aid and comfort to Nick and the Gang. Hello? This is a first time in SAG history that a contingent of SAG leaders has openly sided with producer in shooting down a strike authorization; the only tool it has to insure that SAG members get a fair deal.
Labor Relations 101: If you want to take a membership out on strike, you must be able to shut down the industry. It’s one of the reasons why the Phase One Agreement between SAG and AFTRA was created back in the 1980s to ensure that in the event of a job action ALL actors were on the same page. to avoid a strike.
Hmmm….let’s see they won’t be able to do any movies, and over 90 percent of Network TV is SAG. The idiotic idea that if you want to take the membership out on strike, you have to shut down the entire industry is total BS. If that were the prerequisite then there would never be a strike. Well, let’s use a little Common Sense 101. Did we shut down the industry during 2000 Commercial Strike? Hmmm…no wait, by golly, now I remember! It was the fact that I did several movies during the commercial strike that I was able to make it. Oh, and, under Ms. Henry’s convoluted logic, we could never strike against the basic cable, animation, or Internet shows which are negotiated separately. As to having all actors on the same page that will never happen. Ms. Henry is the perfect example; Even though the SAG negotiators voted 97% to 3% to send out the strike authorization, there will always BE those of Ms. Henry’s ilk who will naysay it. Look, we had the ‘go-alongs-to-get-alongs’ when this union was formed during the Great Depression. You know the kind. “But, but, we’ve got a pretty good deal now, why rock the boat with this union stuff. Look, I gotta go I haven’t had a meal break in thirteen hours and I’m HUNGRY!”
That essential leverage ended when SAG initiated a campaign early last year to end Phase One and began pummeling AFTRA relentlessly. After rescinding a motion to send a referendum to SAG members to end the Phase One Agreement, SAG/LA leadership sat down with a Soap Opera cast for 2 hours discussing how to decertify from AFTRA which is a huge breach of trust and an enormous labor no-no. It was the last straw for AFTRA resulting in SAG heading to the TV/Theatrical negotiations alone.
Check your pants Ms. Henry! After that one, they have got to be on fire. Here’s what Susan Flannery of “The Bold and the Beautiful” had to say about the incident. It really shows Ms. Henry to be, well, a person whose pants should be on fire.
From: Susan Flannery of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Re: Statement of events leading up to AFTRA leaving Phase 1 and excluding itself from joint negotiations with SAG .
To the members of SAG:
LET’S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! ” NO CAST MEMBER OF THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL HAS BEEN SOLICITED BY ANY DIRECTOR OR ELECTED OFFICER OF SAG TO LEAVE AFTRA AND JOIN THEM……
You can read Ms. Flannery’s entire letter by clicking the following link http://sagwatchdog.com/cgi-bin/admin_config.pl/read/846 Oh, and AFTRA walked out on the Phase One negotiations the day before they were to be initiated, several weeks after this whole “Bold and Beautiful” incident had presumably been settled. But, but let’s get back to Ms. Henry as she continues to chuck it against the wall to see if it sticks.
If SAG takes a strike under the TV/Theatrical Contract it will not shut down the industry. SAG actors, 44,000 of which are also AFTRA actors, will continue to work on new TV shows, as they will be produced using the AFTRA contract. It’s reported that film work has been stockpiled for a year. You might not like the message, but it is reality.
I love the “documentation” this gal provides for her statements? “It’s been reported?” Hard to argue against that! But, but, we’ll try. Oh, and if Ms. Henry would bother to read SAG’s Constitution, the AFL-CIO’S Constitution, the 4A’s Constitution, and yes even AFTRA’s Constitution instead of relying on Nick Counter’s handouts, she’d know that AFTRA members can’t work for any producer that SAG is striking against. Let’s go to the SAG Constitution on that one.
Rule 9 of the SAG Constitution’s Rules & Regulations:
“….It shall be conduct unbecoming a member if the member accepts employment with an employer in the jurisdiction of another branch after having been advised by the other branch that:
(A.) The employer has refused to bargain in good faith a collective bargaining agreement with the other branch and the other branch has declared the employer unfair or has otherwise directed its members not to work for the employer.”
In response to those who might be saying, but, but, taking the above constitutional mandated action would somehow violate federal law, I would point out to them Section 20 of the Clayton Act, which…
“Prohibits injunctions against specified employee activities, such as strikes and boycotts that are undertaken in the employees’ self-interest and that occur in the course of disputes ‘concerning terms or conditions of employment,’ and states that NONE of the specified acts can be ‘HELD TO BE (A) VIOLATION OF ANY LAW OF THE UNITED STATES!”
Additional leverage was gone once the WGA took a strike. As a SAG and AFTRA member I have no say in what the WGA does, but the reality is that the WGA’s 100 day strike at this very time, last year, took a huge toll on actors’ salaries. Have you recovered that lost income?
Now there’s bit of convoluted logic. Duh, I have no say in what the WGA does, but, but I’ll just go ahead and let a union where I have no “say” make a decision for me that will affect my ability to make a living as an actor for decades to come. Double Duh! Now you know why I refer to those like Ms. Henry as “Go along to get alongs.” SAG was the first union to stand up for residuals, lucky for us, Ms. Henry and her LUSAN/UFS pals were not around then, or we might still be waiting for another union to make the first move. You think? And no, I haven’t recovered lost income from the WGA strike. But one thing for certain, I sure as hell ain’t gonna recover it if SAG rolls over and takes the AMPTP offer with its plethora of rollbacks, non-union provisions and residual giveaways.
Any leverage we might have had left evaporated along with the DOW, the S&P and NASDAQ. We have been in a major recession for the past year, over a million jobs lost in just a few months and both President Bush and President-Elect Obama are warning the American people that the end is nowhere in sight.
I addressed the recession issue earlier. Oh, and Ms. Ms. Henry is totally wrong when she says, “The end is nowhere in sight.” We accept this deal that opens the door for our SAG signatories to produce non-union shows, and our great guild will be staring it right in the face.
The fact is SAG was last in line of all the entertainment unions to negotiate a contract with the AMPTP. Because of that fact, a “pattern” has been established. The deal to be made is to a) get jurisdiction in New Media (which WGA, DGA and AFTRA have done and SAG currently has NOT) and b) take DVDs off the table. The WGA removed their DVD proposal BEFORE they went on strike, and both the DGA and AFTRA had no DVD proposals.
In the negotiations nothing is taken off the table. Concessions are made based on reciprocal concessions; Unfortunately Nick, and the AMPTP gang, weren’t in a reciprocal mood, especially in light of all the SAG “go-along-to-get-along, ‘ like Ms. Henry, publicly advocating after the WGA strike that SAG members did not have the resolve to strike. Actually when the AMPTP refused to make a deal, all of the proposals were taken off the table including that 0.15 percent increase on the penny the entire cast of a movie splits on the sale of, say, a 12 dollar DVD. So, in essence, that unrealistic demand SAG asked for amounted to an increase of 1.5 mills on the sale of each DVD. Oh, and this whopping increase that even the Mills Brothers wouldn’t sing about would be the first increase in the Home Video formula that has been in place since its formulation over a quarter of a century ago. As to a sunset clause, it had the only one that employers abide by; when SAG makes an increase proposal, they’ve told us to put it where the sun don’t shine.
The simplest and cleanest way to establish jurisdiction is to get management to voluntarily recognize the union as the collective bargaining agent for that work. That is exactly what the DGA, WGA and AFTRA did, and their willingness to give on the residuals in low budget productions in New Media made this possible. SAG’s unwillingness to accept that reality is why we have been working without a contract for over five months.
Oh, yes. They have recognized SAG as the bargaining agent for Internet work. Ah, the only thing, it don’t cover any work being done. What it does do, is set a precedent allowing signatories to do non-union work.
And while there would be no residuals for work made in this one area of New Media for the time being, this provision will expire (“sunset”) at the end of this contract in 2008. The same is true for the DGA, WGA, and AFTRA, meaning all the unions will have to renegotiate New Media in 2008, giving us overwhelming leverage at that time. Since the current deal also requires the studios to report fully on all the New Media work they do (including budgets and creative staff) by the time we sit down to renegotiate, the unions will have a very strong case to make for changes in the contract. We can make a case that our employers are making money from our work when we have a) the jurisdiction and b) the facts. At this moment, it’s all speculative.
Oh, the Ol’ Sunset ruse. Here’s how it works. Every three years we ask for increases under the sunset clause, and the AMPTP tells us to put our increased proposal where the sun don’t shine.
Even if SAG miraculously were able to achieve jurisdiction with residuals, it would do nothing more than ensure that all work would be done under an AFTRA contract, since AFTRA has been working under the deal that’s on the table since July.
Huh? What shows would be done under the AFTRA contract? Just because AFTRA allows its members to do non-union under their AMPTP deal that doesn’t mean SAG will? Duh? Earth to Eileen! SAG has Rule One! Members can’t do non-union work.
The question then becomes, “Is the membership prepared to strike on a concept and not actual money in your pocketbook” during a time of economic uncertainty? If we had some leverage left in our back pocket, I’d be willing to entertain the conversation but SAG’s leverage is gone.
Actually the question is this. If this non-union thing is not a big deal, why does the AMPTP risk a strike to get it. As to the “back pocket” that’s very appropo in that if members follow Ms. Henry’s advice that’s exactly where they’ll find themselves, in the AMPTP’s back pocket.
As many people in our industry are fond of saying, “Timing is everything.” Our timing is off and by a long shot.
Yes timing is everything. The problem here is that Ms. Henry and her AFTRA First group is two-timing SAG….ah, make that three timing SAG when you include the AMPTP. Look, there is never a time for SAG members to take our primary bargaining tool “A strike authorization” off the table. Without it, as our NED has reminded us; It’s not collective bargaining, but, rather, collective begging.
Eileen Henry, Former 2nd National Vice President, Screen Actors Guild, Former NY President, Screen Actors Guild Current Trustee, Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan
Hmmm…if Ms. Henry has her way, and we sign the AMPTP contract with all its giveaways, rollbacks and residual giveaways, she might just have talked herself out of a job. I mean with mostly non-union work on “Now” Media, and mostly no residuals, we may not even have a Pension & Health fund.
Speaking of Collective Begging; the Watchdog Bulletoon. It has been reported that if the strike authorization fails the USAN/UFS board of directors will bring in a new Chief Negotiator, one that better reflects their approach to Collective Bargaining.
In the following exclusive Watchdog photograph, their prospective New Chief Negotiator “Alms Fordepour” is seen preparing for upcoming negotiations with the AMPTP.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Oh, and the biggest chuckle of the week comes from the Hollywood Reporters Jay A Fernandez and Andrew Salomon in their 12/15/08 article ” Dessension in the ranks”
Keri Tombazian, a SAG member for 30 years and former board member, has launched a Website in support of a “no” strike-authorization vote at SAGDecision.com. He said he believes that a 75% “yes” vote required to authorize the national board to call a strike is far from a sure thing
I beg your pardon