Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Screen Actors Seek Strike Authorization

by James Parks, Nov 24, 2008

Members of the Screen Actors (SAG) will soon begin voting on a strike authorization after talks between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke off early Saturday morning. SAG had asked a federal mediator to join the talk, but after 27 hours of marathon negotiations, the mediator was unable to broker an agreement. In a statement, SAG said:

Management continues to insist on terms we cannot responsibly accept on behalf of our members. As previously authorized by the National Board of Directors, we will now launch a full-scale education campaign in support of a strike authorization referendum. We will further inform our members about the core, critical issues unique to actors that remain in dispute.

We have already made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach agreement. Now it’s time for SAG members to stand united and empower the national negotiating committee to bargain with the strength of a possible work stoppage behind them.

SAG members have been working under a contract that expired June 30 with the two sides unable to agree on how actors would be paid when movies and TV shows are distributed through new media, such as mobile phones and the Internet. This is the same issue that led to the 100-day writers’ strike, which ended nine months ago. In its statement, SAG pointed to complaints made last week by the Writers Guild of America, West that AMPTP producers have reneged on the contract they agreed to in February and are not paying residuals for writers’ work that is reused on new media.

No timetable has been announced for the SAG strike vote. Seventy-five percent of the membership must approve the authorization for it to take effect, according to the union.

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