Well, to prove that new SAG President Ken Howard had not had back surgery, Nikki Finke’s SAG sources stated that he had appeared on Business News, the day before.
Now, after a few hours sniffing around, the Ol’ Dog finally found a video of President Howard’s interview on Business News.
One wonders, why none of his supporter bloggers or websites, chose not to link up to his interview. Perhaps, the reason is that they, actually, saw it.
And if you’d like to see it click the following link.
And here is an (Automatically Generated Transcript that may not be 100% accurate) which the Ol’ Dog did his best to correct.
There’s a new Screen Actors Guild sheriff in Town, and by town, of course, I mean Hollywood. He, actually, has a lot of work to do, building bridges, mending relationships in his own union, to a possible merger with a rival union. How does he plan to handle it all we welcome SAG president Ken Howard joining me now for a Fox Business exclusive interview. Ken we know in Hollywood, they call you prexy, so we’ll call you prexy. How you doing?
Fine, just fine, thanks for having me on.
Anytime, this was a huge story, just after the writers guild struck, people were concerned about the Screen Actors Guild striking and it didn’t happen. But tell us what’s your number one focus in now leading the screen actors guild.
It really will be to reestablish our relationships with the other unions; the director’s guild, Writers Guild and particularly with AFTRA –you know, AFTRA and SAG negotiated side by side for 25 years, until this last negotiation, and we saw the result of them breaking apart. And it was very bad for SAG and the future of actors.
Yes, SAG and AFTRA negotiated together for the last twenty five years and did not even get an increase in the DVD formula. This is because the AFTRA negotiators with their fifty percent say, and ten percent stake in the issue, were always willing to go along with the AMPTP on the issue. And as we saw in the last negotiations when they chose to go it alone, nothing had changed. They were still willing to give the AMPTP what they wanted, even if it undercut actors salaries and protections–and undermined SAG negotiators.
And so, that will be my first priority, and I’ve already been in touch with the heads of other guilds and in particular with AFTRA, so that we can start working together, so that in two years when going into the next negotiation, we”ll be, you know, working as one.
And, of course, down the line, I think that should eventually, lead to a merger, where all performers and all actors are under one tent, and that will put us in a much stronger bargaining position with management on the situation than we were in the last time.
If AFTRA hadn’t of pulled out of the last negotiations and undermined our SAG negotiations by accepting what employers wanted, and, instead would have joined SAG in negotiations, how would have that improved our bargaining power? Hello, it doesn’t improve your chances of winning a fight, if you have a bunch of cowards at your side.
What would you do to be able to effectuate a merger between SAG and AFTRA? They, truly, are two disparate groups. For example AFTRA, they have a lot of newscasters in there. I USED TO BELONG when I worked in Bostonand so I’m wondering, how would that work? Especially, if the actors and studio chiefs are having trouble? Yet, the newscasters don’t have anything to do with something like that.
Ah, the pivotal question: the one that must be answered before any SAG/AFTRA merger, including broadcasters, can be considered. Let’s see how our new UFS SAG president answers that one? Will, he face it directly, or try by obfuscation to avoid answering. Here’s his response, you judge.
Well I think what’s happened is that the Media is changing before our eyes in such a way that a lot of these various distinctions have been blurring more and more, an obvious example is reality television, and various actors who are also hosts and various actorswho are performing..
Whoa, Big Guy! Talk about “blurring!” The question was how NEWCASTERS, who don’t have anything to do with actors negotiations, help them in negotiations. The question was not about actors and performers on REALITY SHOWS.
I was never in agreement with what I thought was an elitist point of view about actors as opposed to host of reality shows and newscasters
Well, it’s pretty obvious that Ken is using the art of deceptive debating, by mischaracterizing the opposition to including newscasters in SAG/AFTRA merge, as an elitist stance. It is not elitist, but rather, It has to do with including in your union, those who don’t work your contracts, and would have no bearing on your bargaining power. By Ken Howard’s convoluted logic, Baseball Players, are then elitist for not wanting football players in their union, and football players for not wanting soccer players in theirwell, you get the idea. Hey, to his credit, Howard only labeled those opposing such a union as elitist! At least he didn’t follow AFTRA’s NED lead, and imply that those opposing a merger which would include broadcasters were RACIST. Okay, let’s get back to the SAG President’s little tap dancing routine.
And weather-people, and here’s why; management is interested in product. And they need a lot of product to fill time, we’re talking, greatly, about television, now!
Ah, ah, Mr. President, are you telling us that the MANAGEMENT that SAG bargains with, needs that local newscast, weathercast, traffic report, etc.
That’s their concern. And I think we’re better off acknowledging the fact that we are all presenting that product. And the more we can work together the more we, I think we can be effective
Earth to Ken, we don’t have to merge with those who don’t work our contracts and who cannot go out on strike with us, to work together. We don’t need those non-actor broadcasters; newscasters, disc Jockeys, sportscasters, weathercasters in cities all around our country to be voting on who would be SAG’s president, board members, etc. Actors should control their destinies not BROADCASTERS.
And, also, just financially you’re talking about one set of initiation fees, one set of dues, all the revenue going one health and pension plan. I think it’s something that’s inevitable quite frankly and I think it already should have happened I wish that it happened in 2003.
Oh my, he makes it all seem so easy. First off, one of the problems in the 2003 merger attempt was the factor that broadcasters did not want to pay the same dues as actors, and instead, wanted to pay a lesser amount. And how are Actors going to feel about AFTRA Broadcasters, not paying on their non-union work, like Larry King on CNN.
And then, there was the problem with merging the pension plans. The Merger Memo made it clear that merging with the SAG Pension plan with the AFTRA plan would not be beneficial for SAG participants.
At that time we could only predict what we thought would happen if we didn’t — and now that we’ve seen it. And I think we can solve that but it’s going to take a little time. and thank you for your last input, I think I’m going to immediately go to the heads of studios and insist that actors when they work.”
Yeah, we’ve “seen” it, alright. We’ve seen Ken Howard and his USAN/UFS/AFTRA/AMPTP gang, stand by AFTRA every step of the way, as they went from only two cable shows, to poaching almost every cable show on TV. We say them support AFTRA as the cut actor’s minimums and gave away their residuals. Then when AFTRA undermined SAG negotiations, by bribing non-Broadcasters to vote on their TV/Theatrical ( even if they didn’t work the contract) we saw Ken and his pals support them. And now after being instrumental in doing irreparable harm to actors ability to make a living, they blame the membership for not merging with AFTRA, and say, see we told you.
(Responding to his coffee quip) Exaclty! Well, they can come to Fox and get free coffee. NBC I’m not so sure of anymore. Ken looking at what happened with digital in the explosion of online and web episodes, things like that. And I mean the perfect example is the show “Lost” which had a quadrillion downloads, and the people who created it, wrote it, made it happened, that didn’t get a dollar from that–and of, course, the studios would argue; well, we don’t know, the landscape is so nebulous at the moment. How long can they really claim that — how do you protect actors to make sure that they get paid for that?
I don’t think they can claim any more. One of the reasons I use the phrase new model for addressing this. It’s an appropriate business term I think we’re going to need help from the outside people, who know how to do this, but we need a new model for addressing this, and that is that the creative aspect of all the work that goes on out there, we should share in the profits. How big that piece of the pie is, remains to be seen, but to suggest that, in no way, does the creative element deserve any part of what looks like it’s going to be very substantial profit, and a big direction in which we have businesses going. That is unacceptable! But how we do it, the kind of model we have were we can present it to management in a way that that works I think that’s possible. But it’s certainly comes from a lot of conversation. Rather, than a shot across the bow from either side, before we even sit down. I think that kind of posturing and threatening has been very ineffective, really for both sides.
Yeah, tell that to the AMPTP, who, with the help of actors like Ken Howard and his USAN/UFS/AFTRA/AMPTP First pals, not only took away internet residuals, actors clip consent, force majeure, and more, but, also, gave our signatories the right to do NON-UNION productions on the internet.
Well, you’ve got the support of actors like Tom Hanks and that George Clooney who are always very vocal in these situations and it was a bitter battle with Anne-Mare Johnson, and she’s an actress, you’re an actor, who won an Emmy for your role in “Grey Gardens, congratulations. Do you plan on continuing to act through all of this, because you got this massive effort before you, to repair what was a bloody battle to make sure and strengthen the Screen Actors Guild.
One phrase that was used in explanation to me, when I’d raise this question before taking this on the phrase is that SAG is built in such a way that the service is adjusted to the work, rather than vice Versa, because we’re all actors and we want people representing us who are in the workplace.
Hmmmyou mean like Roberta Reardon, who has never worked a single job under the TV/Theatrical Contract? A leader you supported while at the same time she lead negotiations of that contract that undermined working actors ability to make a living? Is that the kind who you want representing us, who are in the workplace?
And there’s been presidents before, an example, although it was a long time ago, was Charlton Heston, who was the president of Screen Actors Guild for six years, at the height of his career, but there is a way, in terms of delegating to a very large staff, and you have to be able to trust those around you.
Translation: Like I said, President Howard, will be nothing more than a front for the likes of Richard Masur and SAG NED David White, who only a couple of weeks before his interim appointment as SAG NED, was doing work for his mentor, and MPAA head honcho, Robert “Whipsaw’ Pisano.
But I think, actually, if I’m working and involved on the set and on the scene. It will make me even more effective as a president.
As we finish up, are you going to raise union dues?
I don’t know yet, I know we’re dealing with some financial trouble on the deficit. And, I will say it’s not a matter dodging the question, I don’t have the answer for that, but I do know that eventually merging of AFTRA and SAG, would lead to a lowering off initiation fees and lower dues, because of the size of the power of the revenue– that’s clear to anyone looking at it. So our goal is to lower fees and lower dues, and I think we’ll be able to succeed on that, and, also, to lower qualifications for health and pension, and raise what comes back to actors.
Wow! We should get soothsayer Ken a turban. But no need to get him a crystal ball he already seems to have one of them. When it comes to merger, in the last attempt in 2003, both sides seemed to acknowledge that a merger would lower dues for some and raise them for others. Ken’s focus is on the size of what comes in revenue. He doesn’t seem to be concerned on what goes out. For instance, SAG now only has to negotiate a handful of contracts, but how much is it going to cost this new merged union, to negotiate the couple of hundred individual broadcaster contracts, and how much might it cost this new merged union in lawsuits if they try and kick out all those high profile broadcasters, like CNN’s Larry King, NBC’s Brian Williams the multitude of others that switch between union and non-union work. But, butno need to bother President Howard with pesky little details like that.
It is so good to see you, good luck to you, as you take on this new challenge — thank you for coming on Fox Business.”
Thank you, I appreciate it. It may be my toughest role.
(Chuckles) Possibly. Something makes me think it’s going to be. SAG President Ken Howard, we’ll be right back.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
It’s post time!