Thursday, September 24, 2009

SAG Moderates Win NY & Everywhere Else

According to unofficial sources, and as SAGWatch is reporting, SAG moderates have won every open NY Board seat that was up, and all the regional seats that were up as well.

Hollywood results are not in yet (expected in 1.5 hrs or so), but all the seats up in Hollywood are hardline Membership First - thus, they can only lose more seats, or hold Hollywood numbers at best.

Presidential and Secretary results are expected in 1.5 hrs also, but the NY and RBD (regional) results don't bode well for MF, especially since two hardline presidential candidates (Anne-Marie Johnson and Seymour Cassel) are splitting the hardline vote. The interesting question will be whether moderate Unite for Strength candidate Ken Howard achieves a vote total greater than the sum of Johnson and Cassel.

If not, the hardliners can be expected to declare a moral victory, and the signal to AFTRA may be that SAG has still not turned a corner sufficient to realistically talk about merger. Indeed, unless Howard gets well over 60% of the vote, AFTRA may still be gun shy, since 60% is the threshold needing to approve merger. SAG has failed twice in the last decade to achieve that threshold, and AFTRA leaders have indicated that they won't discuss merger unless the signals from SAG are more favorable than they have been.

Either way, management should remember that moderates as well as hardliners have indicated that they will be ready to seek a strike authorization during the next negotiations if necessary, as I reported recently. It's going to take flexible negotiations by management to avoid a meltdown in 2010 (early negotiations start Oct. 1, 2010,just a year away) and 2011.

More later.

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