Of course, it was a no-brainer that the minute SAG’s negotiating team decided to ask the members for a strike authorization, the only tool our union has to stop the rollbacks and giveaways the AMPTP is demanding, those SAG members, who have been parroting producer propaganda up until now, would rev it up a notch.
And they have. And the pro producer anti SAG propaganda on the part of these “go-alongs-to-get-alongs’ is only going to intensify. One of the old outed Restore gamg, has according to Variety’s Dave McNary’ already announced her intentions to start a website to defeat the Strike Authorization. This is the same woman that announced in a SAG informational meeting that anyone that was an enemy of producers was an enemy of her’s.
Here are a couple of missives, including those that are pulling the strings for the current “Unite For Strength” Puppet Leadership, “Auntie Idiocy “Mike Farrell and Amy Aquino–who are doing their best to kill the Strike Authorization.
posted: Wed., Dec. 3, 2008, 9:51am PT
Farrell, Hodge speak out against SAG
Duo opposes guild’s strike authorization vote
By DAVE MCNARY
Former SAG VP Mike Farrell and national board member Mike Hodge are opposing the Screen Actors Guild’s strike authorization vote.
Farrell announced his opposition in a bitter email Wednesday, blasting SAG’s leadership for a series of strategic blunders including its unsuccessful attempt to persuade AFTRA members to vote down that union’s primetime deal and its insistence on seeking a hike in DVD residuals –long a non-starter for the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.
What a union man, Ol Mike is. First, he’s against SAG trying to get a change in the terrible Home Video formula where producers take eighty percent off the top before sharing with actors; a formula that producers have refused to change even though it has sunseted at least eight times over the last 27 years, costing actors billions of dollars! Now, he wants to take away the unions only tool, a strike authorization, that could stop another lousy formula for new media that, among other things, would violate SAG’s core principle that signatories cannot produce non-union work–and, also, would be a big first step in producer’s announced intention of completely eliminating residuals. Hey, at least, Auntie Idiocy is consistent; wanting to keep the old producer Home Video formula in place, while insisting on a union capitulation that would set an even more egregious one in place for the next several decades.
Farrell noted that SAG member dues are now being used for an “education campaign” to persuade members to endorse the strike authorization. SAG plans to send the vote out this month and must receive approval from 75% of those voting to go on strike.
Huh? Suddenly, this guy is worried about our dues money? A guy, who as a board member, backed two failed referendums that cost SAG members several million dollars.
“Given recent history, I figure it’ll probably have something to do with the threat from hidden WMDs,” Farrell said. “And I’m sure there will be the admonition that ‘you’re either with us or with the terrorist AMPTP.’ Well I, for one, am not anti-union. God knows, as a member for over 40 years, I’m not anti-SAG. But I am anti-idiocy. I’m voting no.”
So, Auntie Idiocy is not anti-SAG, but, but he sides with the AMPTP with taking strike off the table; a tool that all union leaders will tell you is the only tool unions have in convincing an intransigent employer to make a fare deal.
The strike authorization vote was triggered on Nov. 22 when talks between SAG and the majors cratered with wide gaps remaining between the two sides. SAG’s negotiating committee’s insisting that the guild must receive better terms in new-media jurisdiction and residuals than in deals the AMPTP signed this year with the DGA, WGA, AFTRA, casting directors and IATSE.
The truth is that SAG is being offered a worse deal than some of the other unions. The DGA and WGA were not asked to give up Force Majeure, and AFTRA passed on it, leaving it up to SAG to negotiate against a rollback of a stipulation that has been in SAG’s collective bargaining agreement since SAG’s beginnings. On Internet “Moveover,” for instance, a writer starts at six hundred dollars, the rank and file actor twenty-two dollars and fifty cents for the first year, ah, that is if it is run beyond the initial 17 to 24 freebee exhibition windows. If it doesn’t the actor gets nothing. There are several more of these goodies in the AMPTP proposal that impact actors differently than writers and producers. So our negotiators aren’t asking for a better deal, but rather, are trying to prevent our members getting stuck with a worse deal.
Hodge, a longtime New York rep to the national board, became the first of the 71-member panel to come out publicly against the authorization. He said in an email that the new media issue represents less than 2% of earnings for SAG actors while the refusal to accept the majors’ final offer — made June 30 as SAG’s master contract expired — is costing members $1.7 million a week plus the a 14% hike in pension and health contributions.
14% hike in P&H Contributions? Is this guy just making this sh*t up? Let’s go to the Producers Final Offer to Screen Actors Guild to find out.
Increase the contribution rate to the Health or Pension Plan by one-half percent (.5%) effective July 1, 2009.
As to the lost revenue, Hodge is “parroting” producer propaganda when he talks about the (unsubstantiated) amount of money members are losing, and is not factoring in the billions they’ll lose if SAG caves in and lets employers set into place their own self-serving formula for new media, just as they did twenty-seven years ago on Home Video. And if you have never heard of Mike Hodges, I’ll save you the trouble of going on IMDb, which posts eight SAG credits for him since 1997, six in a reoccurring role, playing a judge on Law & Order. But, I’ve heard he’s quite successful in voice-overs.
(Hodge continued) “Oh and the two studies that the DGA did said that there won’t be money in New Media until 2012 or even 2014,” Hodge added. “Our contracts last for 3 years.”
Hmmmstrange then that the WGA has already taken the AMPTP into arbitration for failing to make new media payments. This response from the AMPTP completely shoots down Hodge’s DGA theory that there will be no money “in New Media until 2012, or 2014.”
In its detailed fact sheet, the AMPTP said some studios have made or are set to make payments for streaming video to the WGA, but some studios are still working on their residual systems program to include the new formula. In the meantime, some payments are being processed manually.
Residuals for electronic sell-through prior to Feb. 13, 2008 have been included in the DVD payment structure.
(Hollywood Reporter 12/1/08)
So, Mike, tell us again how there won’t be any money in New Media until 2012 or even 2014without sounding overly critical, honestly, I have found when one of the USAN/UFS/AFTRA/AMPTP First crowd states something as fact, in most cases, it ain’t, but, rather, unsubstantiated rhetoric. We all remember UFS spokesperson Ned Vaughn’s recent faux pas in which he misstated that SAG Negotiators had terminated mediation, when even the AMPTP admitted they had been terminated by the mediator. Oh, by the way, in its most recent statement, Amy Aquino and Arye Gross, seem to have taken over that role, ah, ah, no reflection on Ned I’m sure.
Additionally, the Unite For Strength faction — which won five national board seats in September after a campaign blasting how SAG leaders had handled negotiations — has held back on taking a position on the authorization vote.
In the spirit of a non-denial, denial. The UFS Spinmiesters are issuing what amounts to a non-position, position. It is their disingenuous method of trying to shot down the strike authorization without putting their asses on the line. ” Ah, but, but, we didn’t actually tell anyone to vote against it!”
In a message sent Tuesday, Unite For Strength leaders Amy Aquino and Arye Gross said that guild toppers have not worked hard enough to avert a strike.
Surprise, surprise, Amy Aquino is the Restore Respect, ah, I mean the UFS’s new spokesperson. How about if I told you “Unite For Strength” was created by that old Restore Respect standby, Amy Aquino, about three years ago. And that she helped put in place new “fronts” for the Old Restore Respect faces, under their new name “Unite For Strength” . And that, I further informed you that it is Amy, not Ned, or any of the new UFS board members, that was pulling the groups strings, would you believe it? Naw!
“In these historically difficult economic times, every reasonable possibility for making a deal must be explored before considering a job action, and based on the media reports we’ve seen, we’re concerned this wasn’t accomplished,” the duo said. “The decision to authorize a strike is one of the most important choices any member can make. It should be made after carefully weighing all the issues and the potential consequences.”
Hmmmwhat “reasonable possibility” did the negotiating team fail to explore? The negotiated for around 46 days including 2 days mediation, terminated by the mediator. Hmmmmaybe they could have kidnapped Nick Counter and ransomed him for a penny increase in DVD? Naw, I’m sure if it came to them saving a penny or saving Ol’ Nick, Ol’ Nick would be toast. Hell, I doubt if they would even bother to make a Counter Offer.
If the authorization vote succeeds, final say over calling a strike would rest with the national board, where control shifted away in September from the more assertive Membership First faction to a coalition of moderates including reps from New York, the regional branches and the Hollywood-based Unite For Strength. However, Membership First reps continue to control SAG’s negotiating committee.
Look, if you’re not aware of what this is all about, the USAN/UFS’s anti-strike authorization position doesn’t make sense. If the membership votes for a strike authorization, a tool to persuade employers to come back to the table, that doesn’t mean their would be a strike. It only means that SAG may be able to fend off some of the egregious rollbacks. Since only the board can call a strike, and it is currently controlled by the very group that is trying to persuade the membership to vote against a strike authorization, it begs the question, why are they against a strike authorization? I mean it can’t hurt! It can only help. If it doesn’t persuade employers back to the bargaining table then the USAN/UFS board members, who control the National Board, don’t have to call for a strike. So what’s going on here? Simple! It’s pure politics, folks. If a strike authorization were to pass, and, it resulted in a better deal for the membership, it would validate Membership First’s Stance in standing up to the AMPTP, and would make USAN/UFS board members look bad for opposing the strike authorization. On the other hand if the strike authorization passed, but didn’t bring employers back to the table then USAN/UFS’s leadership would be forced into a sticky situation. Since THEY control the board, they would either have to reject the memberships’ authorization, and not call a strike, or have to call one– which would put them in a very unfavorable light with employers. Not to mention that it goes against their “go-along-to-get along” nature. So, you see, the easy way out for them is to manipulate the membership into doing their work for them by rejecting a strike authorization, even though by doing so, it would kill any chance of SAG getting a fair deal. And that kiddies, is called putting your own political ambitions ahead of the membership!
SAG’s leaders have continued to insist that it needs a “yes” vote on the authorization to bring the majors back to the table.
In their most recent message, leaders of SAG have told their 120,000 members that they don’t want to strike — even though they’re seeking an authorization from members to do so. SAG made the declaration late Monday in a fiery message to members in response to the “open letter” by eight CEOs, accusing the guild of being elitist and unrealistic in its approach to negotiations.
“SAG does not want a strike,” the missive said. “We made the decision to seek a strike authorization only after the AMPTP continued to stonewall through negotiations and mediation. Now, the AMPTP is attempting to use today’s economic uncertainty to intimidate us into signing away our future for decades to come.”
Oh, by the way, beyond the fact that movie makers are currently setting boxoffice records, experts are now saying the recession will most probably end in MID 2009, while on the other hand, if we except the AMPTP rollbacks, we will not, most probably, be stuck with them, but, rather, most definitely be stuck with them for at least THREE YEARS, and if history is an indicator for DECADES to come.
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This statement from the Unite For Strength party.
Dear UFS Supporter,
Unite for Strength is a broad coalition of professional performers determined to unite SAG and AFTRA to gain the leverage we need to get the contracts we deserve. Your support of this growing movement helped us elect five candidates to SAG’s National Board in September. Not surprisingly, we’re now receiving many inquiries regarding SAG’s recent call for a strike authorization vote, and want to help clarify what has happened so far.
When the National Board held its first post-election meeting in October, SAG’s negotiating committee asked for an immediate strike authorization referendum. Because of Unite for Strength’s newly won board seats, there were enough votes in the room to prevent that from happening. The Board instead called for federal mediation (a move SAG leadership had rejected before the election) to try to jumpstart the stalled negotiations. On November 20th, the Guild and producers (the AMPTP) went back to the table for the first time in over four months but after just two days, the mediator declared it was pointless to continue. SAG’s negotiating committee in which Unite for Strength had no vote concluded in a split vote that mediation had failed, which automatically triggered the strike authorization referendum.
Hmmm, but, but, ex UFS spokesperson Ned Vaughn said, in a story that went around the world, that it was SAG that terminated the mediation. With friends like Ned, SAG don’t need any enemies! A “split vote?” Kind of makes you think it was fifty/fifty instead of 15 to 2 don’t it? But, but…
In these historically difficult economic times, every reasonable possibility for making a deal must be explored before considering a job action, and based on the media reports we’ve seen, we’re concerned this wasn’t accomplished. Soon all SAG members will need to let the leadership know how they feel, through their strike authorization votes.
The decision to authorize a strike is one of the most important choices any member can make. It should be made after carefully weighing all the issues and the potential consequences. In the coming weeks, Unite for Strength will work to make sure that all our fellow members understand how important it is to cast a fully and accurately informed vote.
Based on media reports? What media reports? Like, just about everything else this politcally motivated group says, they have nothing to substantiate it. As to them doing anything that will fully and accurately inform the membership in making their voteah, well if you believe that, I’ve got some tickets to the John McCain/Sara Palin inagural ball I can let you have real cheap.
Amy Aquino and Arye Gross
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
All formatting and photos are SW’s.
The above is not to suggest that IMDb is an absolute representation of an actors credits, but people do check it and the Ol’ Dog just saved you the trouble that’s all.