Tuesday, December 2, 2008

SAG Fires Back! So Does AMPTP!

We posted a blog a few day ago that reflected on the AMPTP's Los Angeles Times add stating their side of the story. Now SAG have posted a response.

"Los Angeles, CA (December 01, 2008) - Today’s open letter, full-page ad from the eight entertainment industry moguls is confirmation of their continued refusal to bargain with Screen Actors Guild. In an effort to push negotiations forward in the face of AMPTP stonewalling, we asked two of the CEO’s who signed this letter to get involved in the talks in September. They refused. We wish they had taken us up on our offer. It better serves the industry to negotiate than to buy and respond to $100,000 newspaper ads.

We are still waiting for the CEO’s or their AMPTP negotiators to make a good faith effort at bargaining with us. Agreements with other guilds and unions can’t dictate actors’ terms just because they are part of a pattern set by the DGA. Actors issues are different and must be heard and addressed.

We are still waiting for our turn. We want exactly what the DGA got – the chance to negotiate an agreement that addresses the needs of our members. No other guild or union can negotiate a pattern deal that fits the industry and SAG members, any more than ABC can negotiate license fees for NBC. No one has our proxy.

Our issues are different – not better, but different and we deserve to have our unique issues and very valid concerns resolved in negotiation. Agreeing to fairly negotiate the unique needs of actors would mean that the CEO’s are honorably engaging in the negotiations process rather than continuing to stonewall.

Our message to the CEOs is this, “Gentlemen, please understand, the pattern does not fit. Now that you have at least acknowledged our effort to achieve a fair contract for actors, perhaps you would be willing to sit down with our negotiating committee and resolve our issues?”

Here is the response from the AMPTP:

"SAG's press release proves that SAG is now officially out of touch with reality. The Producers negotiated with SAG for 46 days - and over that entire time SAG failed to justify why it deserves a better deal than the six other agreements negotiated so far this year. On a day when the United States was officially declared to be in a recession, when Governor Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal emergency for California, and when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 680 points, SAG continues to demand more and better than everyone else. Unfortunately, the chasm between reality and SAG seems to widen by the day."

So, here is the bad part of all of this. AMPTP has clearly become frustrated and if you have watched their behavior in these labor negotiations, you know one thing, if you piss them off, the more stubborn they become. The more they feel they have the upper hand, the more stubborn they become. SAG has never been able to actually understand this. The first team DGA knew this and they knew how to corerce the AMPTP into making a deal. AFTRA also made a deal. WGA made a deal following in line with DGA. It's quite simple. SAG is the last to the table. They get the scraps. Could they have avoided this? Yes, they chose to sit back and let the WGA and DGA do all the heavy lifting and then were shocked that all of their own demands were not discussed. They didn't even start negotiating until after AFTRA had already secured a deal. This mixed with the inevitable failure of a strike vote is simply frustrating the producers because it means more months of stalled momentum on the actual issue... Getting a deal signed. This is what is allowing the producers to sit back with arms folded and say, "Prove it to me." The reality is, they can't. Plus, SAG has to realize the AMPTP is in a bind. They can't reinvent a new model for one Union when six others have agreed to the terms of another model. It's not fair to the other Labor Unions.

Now, I know that the Producers have a ton of money. I get it. It's unfair, they won't share. Blah Blah Blah, Whine whine whine. Hollywood is profitable... who would have thought? Some big bloggers out there want to point out how hypocritical the producers are when they have so much money in their own accounts and then they complain about the economy. Look, let's be smart for once. The Moguls are businessmen and women. They're job is to maintain a bottom line for their corporations. They are not in the business of fair. It's not part of their job description. So, stop whining about it, and produce a compelling argument for why you want more money. Oh, that's right... you can't.

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