Yesterday, I did live streaming video interviews with SAG candidates and board members from the incumbent, dominant faction, Membership First (represented by David Jolliffe and Ann-Marie Johnson), and the challengers, Unite for Strength (represented by Ned Vaughn).
Some highlights from the interviews: Unite for Strength appears to have many of the same positions on contract issues, generally speaking as Membership First, although Ned was vague about a lot of this, saying that he wasn't in the negotiating room. He refused to say explicitly whether they would seek to fire the National Executive Director, Doug Allen, but said that he would take direction from a new Board majority if Unite for Strength gained a majority (which Ned said would take 6 seats), and expressed confidence that it would not be necessary to dissolve the negotiating committee in order to get it to take a different approach to the negotiations. Ned also was somewhat equivocal about whether, someday after accomplishing a merger with AFTRA, they might seek to reinstitute affected member voting (qualified voting).
Membership First contends that their actions towards AFTRA this year were not responsible for AFTRA deciding to negotiate separately -- rather, that AFTRA was determined to do so in any case. They insisted that negotiations with the studios were ongoing, but refused to provide details, citing the fact that David is on the negotiating committee. They were at first reluctant to concede that SAG was de-leveraged, but ultimately did. Critically, Membership First revealed its strategy, which has been a source of confusion for many people: educate the members on the issues to the point where it does become possible to meet the 75% threshold for obtaining a strike authorization.
Each of the interviews is about an hour and ten minutes long – but well worth it if you want to be informed. Apparently, the candidates haven’t done any other video interviews except soundbite clips.
Click on the images below to watch the interviews (the first is Unite for Strength and the second is Membership First), or click http://www.ustream.tv/channel/look-at-la.
(By the way, a blooper: we hit Record a little before Broadcast, so you'll see 30-60 seconds of pre-program setup and chatting. Ah well, just ignore that.)