Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sanity Prevails?

It appears (maybe) that the Screen Actors Guild is rethinking its earlier position:

SAG's postponement of its strike authorization vote may signal that its leaders are tilting in a more moderate direction -- so much so that the divisive vote may be called off.

... [T]he timing of the Monday night announcement was telling. It came a few hours after Allen and Rosenberg met with leaders of the Unite for Strength faction, a group of Hollywood moderates who gained five board seats in the fall after campaigning on a platform that asserted that Rosenberg and his allies had bungled the contract negotiations strategy.

Unite for Strength spokesman Ned Vaughn told Daily Variety that he and his colleagues expressed concerns about going ahead with the vote, given the growing numbers of SAG members - particularly high-profile stars such as George Clooney and Tom Hanks - coming on the "no" side. ...

Successful negotiations are (mostly) about leverage. Do you have it? Or do you not have it?

It's been reasonably clear for awhile that SAG is holding neither winning cards nor much leverage. It was the last into the tub, and the deal the AMPTP is prepared to make has been pretty well set since the DGA and WGA ratified their contracts.

I'm not arguing here which side is "right" in the things it wants. I'm pointing out reality. If SAG loses the support of a big faction of major actors -- and SAG has -- it's in a weaker position. If SAG's leaders are divided -- and they are -- the Screen Actors Guild is in a weaker position.

And if SAG sends out strike ballots in January and loses the strike vote -- and it's close to that, for any percentage under 75% is losing -- the guild is beyond weak. Its position becomes hopeless.

The question I always get in studios is: "What's going on with the actors? Are they going to strike?" For the past momth I've given the honest answer:

"I donno."

But if what I'm reading in Variety is true, now my answer is different. There won't be a strike. Because SAG leadership has stopped flailing around long enough to stare at the bright lettering on the wall:

It's over.

Which means that the Screen Actors Guild will ultimately get the deal that everybody else has gotten in 2008, the proposal that is on the table now.

It's only a question of when.


Anonymous said...

"Sanity prevails"

You can't fool me, there ain't no sanity.

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