Monday, October 6, 2008

S.A.G. and infinite Stupidity

I am writing this knowing full well, I could get some sort of odd back lash. However, I do not care. I must vent finally on S.A.G. as a result of the ever broadening chasm of stupidity that makes up the leadership of one of the largest Unions in this country.

If I go back to archives, I've probably written about S.A.G. before, but spectacular stupidity often evokes this knee jerk reaction from me, where I just need to say "WTF" over and over again.

It is well known that S.A.G. is the last of several major Entertainment Labor Unions to come up with a new deal with the AMPTP (Hollywood Moguls). So far, the DGA, WGA, AFTRA have all come to terms on an acceptable deal. The WGA unfortunately had to do so, while costing the industry about 2 billion dollars and costing middle income earners in the industry thousands of jobs and lost cash. Some folks lost their homes, and others lost hope in their profession. I don't know what is worse.

The reality is that in June many of us industry professionals had weathered a storm, and we had hope that the storm had passed. One more Union needed to sign a deal. That Union was S.A.G.

This is when the idiocy began.

A Union must have clout to negotiate hard line. S.A.G. by being the last to the table, had none. Other unions had reached agreements, and they said their deals were 'wonderful' and 'fair'. AMPTP was tired and wanted this to end. They put the same deal on the table with some increased money for S.A.G. members. In their minds, this was a done deal. Take it or leave. The one bargaining chip the members had was a Strike.

However, with such division in the general membership a Strike Vote was considered un-reachable. S.A.G. was left powerless at the table.

So, S.A.G. first tried to stop AFTRA members from passing their deal. This would have presented a "United Front" against AMPTP. However, AFTRA went ahead and passed their proposed deal and this allowed actors with sole membership in AFTRA to work, and those with Dual Membership, could simply file for Financial Core status with S.A.G and keep working AFTRA jurisdiction shows. S.A.G. knowing this would cost them dues money decided to let all actors keep working even after the contract finally expired June 30th. July 15th a 'final offer' deal was placed in front of S.A.G. and leadership for S.A.G. did... nothing.

No Vote. Nothing. AMPTP folded there arms and waited. S.A.G. leadership decided to cloud the stalls by making a big deal of their leadership elections, which current leadership for S.A.G. lost.

Powerless S.A.G. really has no logical choice but to sign their deal and move on, and finally allow the industry which has suffered enough to move on.

So, what does the Lame Duck leadership do? They push to vote for a STRIKE. A vote they cannot win. An effort that will further distract from the issue and continue to stall feature film production.

This is incredible. SAG leadership has no clue that all they are doing is preventing members from competing for roles on films that cannot be shot because Studios cannot get budgets because there is no deal in place. The current credit crisis now even threatens this entirely.

We've lost billions of dollars in revenue, yet a few stubborn 'actors' continue to hold this industry ransom for the sake of ego.

I am an actor, I do not make the millions of dollars that Tom Hanks makes, but he and I share the same opinion, we need a deal and we need to move forward. Everyone is losing money, and with a shakey economy, that's not good.

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