Saturday, July 12, 2008

SAG Ponders Options

So we're not quite done with the contract negotiating season.

A day after their counterproposal to major studios' "final" contract offer was rebuffed, Screen Actors Guild leaders huddled on Friday to consider their next move in a Hollywood labor stalemate almost certain to drag into next week.

In a brief statement released in the evening, SAG said its negotiating team "met behind closed doors throughout the day today discussing bargaining strategies. The negotiations team remains committed to continue to bargain for a fair contract."

I don't know what there's left to bargain for. The AMPTP keeps saying "no" when SAG brings up a new or revised proposal. And Mr. Rosenberg can keep saying that it was the news readers and sports announcers that passed the new AFTRA contract, not actors. Trouble is, the deal still passed.

And so the Screen Actors Guild is fast running out of options. The producers won't budge, the economy is tanking, and to do a strike the leadership needs to get a 75% approval from the membership.

And if that wasn't complicated enough, various high profile performers are weighing in how doing a job action now might not be a real swift idea:

Will Smith said that “With the writers’ strike and Hollywood having been through this already this year and having lost millions of dollars, [an actors' strike is] just really not a good time for America, for California, or for a lot of people I know and work with. I hope we can come to a resolution all sides are happy with before it comes to that again. If it has to happen, I hope it moves rapidly. But the economy is terrible and we don’t need to be contributing to it.”

And Charlize Theron said that “I just hope some adult conversation can take place and we can resolve this efficiently and fairly and without having to stop work all over the city and the world.” ...

Tense times. No wonder people are starting to feel like Christian Scientists with appendicitis*.

* Cribbed from Tom Lehrer.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's buyer's market and sometimes it's a seller's market. SAG just has to accept the fact that their timing is bad and they won't make much movement on anything this time. Try again next time and don't let egos get in your way (ie: get rid of 4th rate actors without a career in the driver's seat - he can hold out forever as long as his wife's residuals keep coming in)

Anonymous said...

from Reuters:

The studios made their final offer last week, saying it provided $250 million in additional compensation over three years.
SAG's executive director Doug Allen called the $250 million estimate "highly inflated," claiming that proposed raises to actors' minimum wages would not benefit the higher-paid actors.

Because the nation is just full of sympathy for the higher paid actors in hollywood! We're all behind the effort by people who get paid to play make believe in front of a camera - to make more money.

Give me a break already. Overpaid actors have already skewed the film making process in the worst way. Even if the worst case scenario is that they strike, the studios and networks wouldn't be disinclined to continue production with AFTRA and nonunion talent. That would be kind of cool actually.

Steve Hulett said...

It's interesting that Allen brings up high-wage actors getting hurt with the proposal, since the song and dance has been to help "middle class actors."

I really don't see much chance of a strike (even though I think a lot of the leadership is aching for one). Obviously I could be way wrong.

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