Monday, December 15, 2008

SAG: Over 130 Stars Against Strike

Over 130 stars have weighed in on the SAG strike authorization, coming out firmly against. Citing the economy, the A-listers “strongly” urged SAG members not to authorize a strike, and instead “take the high road … unite with our brothers and sisters in the entertainment community and … three years down the line … make a great deal” when all the union contracts expire roughly simultaneously.

Finally, we’re hearing from the A-listers, and it may be enough to pull SAG back from the brink. Meanwhile SAG Board members in NY and Chicago came out against the authorization over the weekend.

In addition, SAG President Alan Rosenberg was forced to cancel the emergency in-person National Board meeting he had scheduled for this Friday, after SAG activists pointed out in the strongest terms that Rosenberg had no right under the SAG constitution or state law to require that the meeting be in person, rather than by videoconference. (SAG uses videoconference for many of its meetings.)

Here’s the A-listers’ letter.

Dear SAG Board Members, officers and staff:

We feel very strongly that SAG members should not vote to authorize a strike at this time. We don't think that an authorization can be looked at as merely a bargaining tool. It must be looked at as what it is -- an agreement to strike if negotiations fail.

We support our union and we support the issues we're fighting for, but we do not believe in all good conscience that now is the time to be putting people out of work.

None of our friends in the other unions are truly happy with the deals they made in their negotiations. Three years from now all the union contracts will be up again at roughly the same time. At that point if we plan and work together with our sister unions we will have incredible leverage.

As hard as it may be to wait those three years under an imperfect agreement, we believe this is what we must do. We think that a public statement should be made by SAG recognizing that although this is not a deal we want, it is simply not a time when our union wants to have any part in creating more economic hardship while so many people are already suffering.

Let's take the high road. Let's unite with our brothers and sisters in the entertainment community and prepare for the future, three years down the line. Then, together, let's make a great deal.

Sincerely,

Alan Alda

Jason Alexander

Dave Annable

René Auberjonois

Diane Baker

Bob Balaban

Alec Baldwin

William Baldwin.

Barbara Beck

Ed Begley, Jr

Maria Bello

Barbara Bosson

Bruce Boxleitner

Josh Brolin

Pierce Brosnan

David Boreanaz

Blair Brown

Lizzy Caplan

Jennifer Carpenter

Steve Carrell

Mark Cassen

Erika Christensen

George Clooney

Glenn Close

Scott Cohen

Jack Coleman

Stephen Collins

Peter Coyote

James Cromwell

Billy Crystal

Matt Damon

Ted Danson

James Darren

Bruce Davison

James Denton

Brian Dennehy

Danny DeVito

Cameron Diaz

Garret Dillahunt

Larry Dorf

Minnie Driver

Olympia Dukakis

Patty Duke

Charles S. Dutton.

Shelley Fabares

Bill Fagerbakke

Mike Farrell

Sally Field

Kate Flannery

Morgan Freeman

Jennifer Garner

Teri Garr

Melissa Gilbert

Sara Gilbert

John Goodman

Christopher Gorham

Heather Graham

Kelsey Grammer

Jennifer Grey

Michael Gross

Christopher Guest

Annabelle Gurwitch

Michael C. Hall

Tom Hanks

Tess Harper

Mariette Hartley

Ed Helms

Marilu Henner

Cheryl Hines

Felicity Huffman

Helen Hunt

Jeremy Irons

Kathryn Joosten

Carol Kane

Diane Keaton

Jamie Kennedy

Mimi Kennedy

TR Knight

Sarah Knowlton

John Krasinski

Diane Lane

Michele Lee

Lucy Liu

Rob Lowe

Tobey Maguire

Janel Maloney

Camryn Manheim

Marlee Matlin

Melanie Mayron

Andrew McCarthy

Mary McCormack

Chris McDonald

Neal McDonough

Rob McElhenney

Ewan McGregor

Eva Mendes

Debra Messing

Helen Mirren

James Naughton

Edward Norton

Michael Nouri

Gail O'Grady

Kaitlin Olson

Sam Page

Eva Longoria Parker

Adrian Pasdar

Steve Pasquale

Rhea Perlman

Jaimie Pressley

Jason Ritter

John Saxon

William Schallert

Adam Scott

Tony Shalhoub

Armin Shimerman

Christian Slater

Kevin Spacey

Jerry Sroka

Mary Steenburgen

Marcia Strassman

Brenda Strong

Donald Sutherland

Kitty Swink

David Tadman

Jeffrey Tambor

Charlize Theron

Ally Walker

Tracey Walter

Belinda Waymouth

Bradley Whitford.

Lee Wilkoff

Brian Wimmer

Kevin Zegers

Louis Zoric

21 comments:

  1. Nice list, but I wonder if all the names can be traced back to a handful of agents....

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  2. Knowing the hundreds of jobs that would be affected by a SAG strike, I am personally happy to see the common sense approach. There will be time for protest and strikes when the economy settles back down. My congratulations go to those on the list who let common sense prevail!

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  3. Aww, that's so frickin' heart-warming that all of these overrated, overpaid working stars are thinking of their underemployed, underpaid counterparts in the Screen Actors Guild. It touches my soul to see TV stars coming together in solidarity to avoid a work stoppage over a contract that no longer affects them or their salaries. See how it is everyone? Let SAG fight for you and your rights when you are a nobody, but when you become a somebody, be sure and wipe your feet and butt all over the union that gave you those rights as well as any actor who cannot yet quit his or her dayjobs to be able to continue to work as UNKNOWN actors. Hollywood is so giving this way. Make sure and catch many of these stars donating to the latest charity out of the goodness of their tax-write-off hearts and starting organizations to help third world countries, but don't you dare ever expect them to stand up for the middle and lower class working actor because it will simply NEVER happen. Shame star actors who claim to stand up for the "little guy" then screw them over during their plight. Such blasphemy!

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  4. I wanna know why it is that these stupid stars come together only when a strike would personally affect them?

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  5. it's so pathetic to hear the whining coming from people who own million dollar homes who won't be facing foreclosure this year because their whopping million dollar salaries allowed them to buy themselves 3 other homes, but when Joe Schmoe living in his tiny freezing one bedroom apartment in north hollywood wants an increase on his guest starring roles so that he can continue working as a rank and file actor, not one star will stand up for him. it's not SAG who sucks, it's the stupid stars who make any kind of filming in this town impossibly too expensive. want to stop run-away production, make these scumbag stars try to pay THEIR bills off of scale + 10%.

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  6. Whenever stars start preaching to the masses about what they should and should not do, I simply just tune it all out. No one hates them because they're stars. People hate them because they've forgotten what it was like to be working class and struggling. This world's got it backwards. Teachers typically earn $24,000 a year for try to educate the youth of America, but when stars want a salary that's acceptable, they'll take wages that practically bankrupt the day players, extras, craft services, set decorators, set dressers, wardrobe dressers, makeup artists, etc. Like anyone's going to listen to them preaching to the choir. If they want to help this town out, they'd stop being so greedy and make movies and tv a little cheaper to make. The producers shouldn't be blaming the rank and file, they should take it out on all the greedy stars listed in the above letter.

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  7. I think this is a level headed approach to a sticky problem in an economic climate where sympathy would not be with the strikers. The negative comments here seem to suggest that this is all about the undersigned looking out for themselves. I think that is hypocritical and myopic, demonstrating only their own selfishness.

    These actors understand that a strike wouldn't just affect their own lives, but thousands upon thousands of other people that depend on work continuing right now. Indeed, a strike right now would be toothless.

    If you examine this list, I bet you'd find many of them aren't currently working, or have worked for the dreaded "scale +10" often and recently, and still more slung their share of hash and drinks for years. Buck up. Think about someone other than yourself. Now is not the time for a work stoppage.

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  8. ....“take the high road … unite with our brothers and sisters in the entertainment community and … three years down the line … make a great deal.”

    This is really foolish reasoning, say I.

    If we permit the AMPTP to create a business template that does not include actors, why do we think they will change that template in three years, once it's entrenched as the 'status quo' for putting together deals? This is exactly why we lost cable and DVD residuals. Are we really going to do this AGAIN? Have we learned absolutely nothing??

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  9. I have read many of the comments here and I cannot take the opinions of so many "Anonymous" writers seriously. Seems evident that they are part of the cadre already leading us to a ruinous situation.

    I am one of many who do not believe our current SAG leaders made a true effort to find a solution to our current situation before calling for a strike authorization. Many have heard me say that it seemed SAG leadership was pointing us toward a strike even before they began negotiations.

    I have not changed my opinion. I still believe they have been posturing, delaying, and making a farce of this entire process. Once again they are dragging this on in order to bump up against the awards season as a pressure tactic. It seems they would rather ruin another year's recognition of our industry performers and artisans rather than accept terms now, which they will eventually end up accepting anyway. If there were any minuscule gains, they would be far less than the amount that would be lost during a strike - or has already been lost in the difference between the current contract rates and what we could have had all these months had we come to terms. Shutting down our business again would mean lost wages, insurance, and stability to more in our industry than the relatively small percentage of working actors who would truly benefit. And, in these troubled economic times, a strike would have drastic effects that would be felt immediately and for years to come.

    By holding on to the DVD residual increase requirement, the few who are really pulling the strings knew there would be no progress with the AMPTP and that a Federal mediator would be unable to accomplish anything. I have little doubt this was done intentionally. Now they ask for a strike authorization. It is obvious the SAG leadership inner circle had no desire to come to an agreement, evidenced by the arrogance of Alan Rosenberg and the underwhelming, overmatched Doug Allen. We could have gone back to the table a good long while ago, but they needed to continue the illusion of "doing everything they could on behalf of the membership".

    The problem is that the illusion is so transparent as to be non-existent.

    As a prior member of the New Technologies Committee approximately ten years ago, and then as Committee chair, we brought recommendations to the Board many times regarding New Media, Internet, and more. Those items were left out of negotiations as we were told there were other “more important” issues to focus on. Now look where we are.

    I believe we need to stand up for our rights and that the history of settling for low levels at the beginning of new contract categories/models can lead to minimal increases and low levels for decades; however, language can easily be incorporated into any agreement so that does not happen, as it did with DVDs. In today's economy, we must balance the livelihoods and survival of today against the potential gains and losses of the future.

    We must all consider very carefully.

    SAG leadership will tell you a strike authorization does not mean you are voting for a strike, but once they have the authorization in their pocket they can, and most probably will, call a strike at any time. Add to this the fact that AFTRA has a contract in place, and a SAG strike may not have the effect our leaders hope would drive producers back to the table with more to offer. The AMPTP has made it clear they have gone as far as they are willing to.

    Please take the time to research for yourself. Do not depend on only the opinions of others, rumors, or base your opinion on the emotional ranting of a misguided leadership. Knowledge is power and awareness leads to wisdom.

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  10. I agree with everyone else that many jobs will be affected if SAG went on Strike.I am for "Against the strike".I mean,at this time there shouldn't be a strike.I am speaking on behalf of the celebrities that they should sign a petition going fir all of them and unite in it together!On behalf of the stars I say let's fight against the SAG Strike and together you can make it happen!

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  11. Nice one. Anonymous posts must be bogus posturing, huh? So here's my name...look me up.

    Those opposed to strike authorization desire the current SAG board to resume negotiating? Well, there is no more negotiating without strike leverage. Go to the town hall meeting of your union this Wednesday if you'd care to hear why that is.

    Secondly, it's never, ever a good time to strike. SAG has had several strikes during it's 75 years, however. Only from these strikes did actors earn fair deals and residuals for films sold to TV, for pay-tv and video production, and for commercials used on cable.

    The opposition needs to come up with something besides personal disgust with Alan Rosenburg and bad timing.

    Try this, "Thanks General Electric!!! This acting contract is awesome!"

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  12. In response to: jcahealey, who said...

    "Nice list, but I wonder if all the names can be traced back to a handful of agents...."

    Nope - these are individuals who agree and chose to add their names in support. No agents involved. They are standing together in the best interests of every performer and below-the-line individual, and more who will be adversely affected by a strike at this time.

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  13. Um, Mr. Mooney - your "Go to the town hall meeting of your union this Wednesday if you'd care to hear why that is."

    Is asking people to hear the party line and the same commentary we have heard over and over to no good effect.

    Comments by members are now limited to two minutes INCLUDING the response time, the town meeting is basically a sales pitch to the uninformed, and the current economic environment and SAG's successful campaign to drive AFTRA away from joint negotiations led us to a situation where producers can now pick and choose.

    SAG has little leverage and a strike will not get them any more thanks to the consistently divisive attitude of those in charge.

    Had we merged, we would not be in this position. The number of members who voted against merger who have come out and said "I should have voted for merger" is staggering. Glad they are waking up after the fact.

    A strike at this time will have little effect with producers now. Les Moonvies of CBS stated, after the WGA strike, that they actually gained thanks to the strike. With an AFTRA deal in place, the threat of a work stoppage is weak - and we can thank the SAG higher ups for bringing us to this point.

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  14. By the way, Nate - your question, rhetorical though it may have been: "Those opposed to strike authorization desire the current SAG board to resume negotiating?"

    No - most of us believe that the current proposal should be in the members' hands by now. Enough of dragging things on and on. Let the members decide!

    That's how contracts are decided on. Negotiations get as far as they can and then the members vote. This should not have been dragged on so far past the end of the existing contract. We are losing approximately 1.25 million per week - current contract compared to the contract we might have had in place.

    LET THE MEMBERS VOTE ALREADY !

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  15. In this time of economic crisis, it would be shameful for SAG members to create a worse economy in our own backyard!

    3 years will pass in a blink. IF we could all learn to work together...AFTRA, SAG, EQUITY, we would have the power that comes from unity.

    Strikes work best when you have the support of the community. THIS WILL NOT BE THE CASE HERE!

    People are in serious trouble. Our current contract, although flawed, and not what we ultimately want, we still get us paid, and keep us working.

    If we strike, the backlash from the economic strain we will put on our community here in the Los Angeles, and Hollywood will be devastating.

    Santa needs to bring us all a little patience, and some understanding of the bigger picture..A BIG RESIDUAL CHECK WOULD ALSO BE NICE!!!

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  16. It'll be great when we know how much we're actually worth and can freely make a decision accordingly.

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  17. I think that the non-working Actors who are contemplating to vote to strike (because they're not working anyway) should think about what happened with the Writer's Strike. The trickle-down loss of jobs affected businesses outside of the entertainment industry, i.e, restaurants, cleaners, caterers, etc. Many non-working Actors subsidize their careers by working in these other businesses. Given our economy at present, most of these businesses would be hard pressed to survive. If there is a Strike, many innocent people will suffer - PLUS there will be NO JOBS for the non-working actor to turn to. THINK!

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  19. My question is if the we do strike are they going to support the strike by not returning to work with the rest of the sag membership?

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  20. Really very interesting post.

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