Monday, February 8, 2010

Pilots Overwhelmingly AFTRA Again

About 60 pilots for scripted network primetime programs will be shot under AFTRA contracts this year, while few – or perhaps none – will be produced under SAG jurisdiction, according to sources close to the two unions, who spoke on condition of anonymity. This continues a trend that began last year, when roughly 90% of pilots (and 83% of pilot pickups) went AFTRA.

Those numbers, in turn, were a stunning reversal from previous years, which had had SAG garnering about 90% of pilots and 86% of pickups in 2008. But to see such figures two years in a row raises a fundamental question: Is SAG fading out of the TV business?

Maybe so. The ill-will generated by SAG hardliners evidently lives on in the producing community, notwithstanding the electoral change that brought cooler heads last year to the elected and top appointed leadership of the guild. The stalemate and strike rumblings that ensued after the June 30, 2008 expiration of SAG’s contract led many television producers to choose AFTRA jurisdiction wherever possible. SAG finally ratified a new agreement almost a year after the previous contract’s expiration, but the damage to the guild was done.

Also driving the change is the migration of television production from film to digital video: a filmed TV show can essentially only be shot under a SAG contract, but a digital video TV show in most cases can be produced under either union’s jurisdiction. It appears that TV producers are overwhelmingly choosing AFTRA — even though AFTRA wage rates (minimums) are several percent higher than SAG’s.

So, AFTRA’s reach is growing in network primetime scripted programming. That’s only part of the story though. Much of television is non-scripted, non-network or non-primetime: news programs, talk shows, reality, daytime dramas (soap operas), game shows, and more. Those areas, other than scripted cable, are AFTRA’s alone (or are non-union), as AFTRA indicated last summer in a compelling “24-hour TV union” graphic.

This year’s pilot season still has several weeks to go, so the numbers could change slightly, but probably not by much. Last year, for example, as of March 11, there were 70 pilots set for production, whereas the figure for this year as of today is about 60. If the pattern holds, we may see SAG increasingly focused on motion pictures and AFTRA on TV. The transition will be somewhat slow, because existing network primetime scripted series are heavily SAG, but the transition appears to be happening nonetheless.

And what of new media? Those productions tend to resemble TV series more than theatrical motion pictures – i.e., they’re episodic, the budgets are low, they’re shot on digital video, and are viewed on home screens – so AFTRA may end up with the lion’s share of these as well, to the extent that the work is done under union jurisdiction at all.

It’s a murky and confused picture that once again underscores the importance of joint bargaining by the two unions and, ultimately, the likelihood that merger is only solution to the present crazy-quilt jurisdictional overlaps between the two unions.

Spokespeople for SAG and AFTRA had no comment.

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40 comments:

  1. From the makers of Sue Your Union and screw the membership!

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  2. It's interesting, too, to hear the shift over the last two years on set from, "AFTRA sucks, I only work SAG," to, "I'm joining AFTRA right now, but is it worth it to join SAG?" Thank you for the (great) post; this gives me some ideas.

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  3. Now, what does the SAG middle-class actor face? Less work, dwindling residuals, the diversion of TV income to AFTRA P&H plans, disrupting the flow to their SAG P&H plan.

    A friend of mine who did time on the national board of SAG said he's at the point where he simply feels one of two things need to happen:

    Go to the NLRB and get the jurisdictional issue clarified once and for all. If what is feared by SAG: "the NLRB will ask the employer (AMPTP) who they would rather work with (AFTRA, for obvious reasons), and rule for them" - if that happens, it happens. SAG should make its case for jurisdction once and for all. We see what not doing that has allowed AFTRA to get away with.

    Or

    Merge.

    I think I agree. The "let's win their hearts and minds" people within MF, who feel they have the facts and precedent on their side, have to come to grips with the simple reality that the SAG membership has been horn-swaggled by the moderates and AFTRA, and they are increasingly unresponsive to logical arguments about the superiority of SAG vs. AFTRA, the importance of precedent in the AMPTP's "promises" vs. the reality of their lies, and so on.

    So, we'll see what Ken Howard delivers. He says he wants a percentage of total gross. He says he can live with bumped up fixed rates in new media, as long as the contract is accompanied by a percentage system kicking in by a date certain, that SAG finds reasonable. He says "Everybody knows the TV show coming through your TV will come from the internet - everybody knows that." That's a quote from his Backstage interview.

    We see he is unwilling or unable to stop AFTRA from taking the lions share of TV pilots from SAG. He doesn't seem to care. I haven't read or heard a single word that this bothers him, yet, he's the president of the Screen Actors Guild.

    Isn't that odd? Deeply, deeply, odd?

    Where is the outrage, Mr. Howard? Who exactly are you representing?

    And, of course, Jonathan Handel's report is followed by "no comment" by either party, SAG or AFTRA.

    Great investigative work.

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  4. I think much of this triumphalism, and "I told-you-so-ism" is going to be looked at in a new light once the 2011 TV/Theatrical deal is signed. We'll get a look at the particulars as soon as the first meeting is held: how intransigent the AMPTP is going to be, now that there is blood in the water, how strong or how comliant the Ken Howard-led SAG negotiating committee will be, etc.

    But, there will only be a chance to judge the '08-'09 wars, once the 2011 contract is signed.

    Did the hard-liners overreach, or were they right, and did the moderate coup lead to a devastated SAG?

    That's the fundamental question.

    Of course producers are going AFTRA. AFTRA has hung out a sign that says "open for business," not "we will protect the standards set over the last 27 years of Phase 1 joint bargaining."

    So, why would any TV producer want to go with the union in flux, SAG, when the union they know will be vastly more compliant and give them less trouble in fighting for the rights of its membership, AFTRA, is an option?

    They won't, as these numbers show.

    The argument can be framed as "boy SAG was trouble and therefor did a disservice to its membership" or, "SAG was right, the AMPTP is locking in long-term losses for actors, and AFTRA proved the perfect partner in this move."

    AFTRA president Roberta Reardon and Kim Hedgepath knew pefectly well that going it alone would be a huge roll of the dice, but, they also knew, if they were viewed as the "friendly" union by the AMPTP, that they might very well be rewarded by a huge increase in TV jurisiction.

    SAG was saying "we must stop this division for the purpose of what the AMPTP is obviously doing: 'divide and conquer.'"

    SAG asked for, and recieved, the unanimous or near unanimous support of its national board in fighting off the last contract, but then, it became clear for all the moderates within SAG, all the pro-merger people, that, if they could stall long enough, depriving the SAG leadership of unanimity, deprive them of an SAV as a bargaining tool, they could come out the other end with an emergent AFTRA, and a declining SAG.

    That's exactly what we have. The SAG membership was kept largely out of the process, and by the time they were allowed to voice their own opinion and vote, they were utterly exhausted and voted up the contract by 78%. Far short of the normal 90-plus-percent votes when a contract is recommended by the board, but, 78% is 78%.

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  5. Matt Mulhern, will you ever stop? Post after post after post of old hash Mulhooey as they say.

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  6. Let's pose a couple questions.

    Has the SAG '08-'09 contract made things better or worse for the SAG middle-class actor?

    Do you believe Ken Howard will hold the line for a "percentage of the total" which is how he himself, in his Backstage and HR interviews, describes his position going into October's talks?

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  7. I think it's important to recognize two things:

    All who disagree with the most radical of the modertes, such as Tom Ligon, Marisa Redanty and Fred Wilhelms (among others) are not Matt Mulhern.

    Also, let's get our "directions" straight. The "moderates" are constantly accusing the "hard-liners" of being Rupublican-like in their tactics and behavior. However, the linked article below, appears on a Socialist website, and while it clearly criticizes MF, it is devastating towards UFS and the "moderate" movement, describing them as compliant tools of conglomerate puppet-masters.

    Now, when a Socialist web-site tells you you're in the thrall of corporate America, as they say over and over about UFS and the pro-moderate forces within SAG, then it's clear - if you want to put a label on these two movements within the Sreeen Actors Guild, one is favorable to the conglomerates at the expense of the working actor.

    That movement is the "moderate movement."

    One movement wants to stand up to the conglomerate pressure, and values the unique power of one collective, SAG, whose members are indispensable to the product the multi-billion dollar profits the corporations who hire them make.

    That movement within SAG is the one fighting against the corporate beast.

    The "hard-liners."

    So, "moderates" - Republicans, roughly speaking.

    "Hard-liners" Democrats, roughly speaking.

    Follow this link to this Socialist web-site article. Let's be clear who is cozying up to big business, and who is fighting for the average worker.

    http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:SYyvMrZ80jAJ:www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jun2009/sag-j11.shtml+membership+first+sag&cd=17&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

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  8. Yes, Matt, we know. We hear you. We hear you. Like a construction site outside our bedroom window, we "hear you." Like a construction site that is blasing through the earth, we "hear" you. Like a construction site that is drilling at 6:00am every morning, we "hear" you. We don't "listen" because it's just noise.

    Yes Matt, unfortunately, we can't stop your noise, because you keep typing.

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  9. Hey, Mulhern - stop trying to revise history. It was Membership First who INVENTED stalling, and who developed divine dithering into an art form. Membership First was told to "take it to the members" and THEY DIDN'T - time-after-time - because each time they put their toe in the water they discovered that the membership had a great big "NO!" waiting for them.

    Isn't Matt Mulhern odd? Deeply, deeply odd?

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  10. Odd doesn't begin to describe the vitriolic, inability to read or listen or debate nor the mean spirited nastiness of what he has written. That's why some places won't even let him write in any more. Odd is kind.

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  11. Well, everyone who disagrees is Matt Mulhern, and people who are barred from a number of sites themselves, except where their craziness is welcomed, say Mr. Mulhern is crazy and has been barred from sites that can't answer the questions, so they focu's not the messenger they need all the messengers to be.

    This is obviously not the place for debate, or discussion.

    So, we wait and see. What will Ken Howard deliver? Therand you will be judged, by the membership and by the pundits.

    It's so strange to be on a web-site run by a guy, Jonathan Handel, who has said the sunset clause is a "meaningless fig leaf," and "the 2009 contract is the first step towards the elimination of residuals" - a statement made by MF - is "probably right" - and find yourself reading "I can't hear you!" - fingers in the ear responses.

    Time will tell. Arguing that the current administration of SAG is weakening SAG, when the current administration of SAG wants to weaken SAG and merge it with AFTRA?

    Alice in Wonderland.

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  12. What did Alan Rosenberg ever "deliver?" Nothing. Why attempt to make the SAG Presidency a specialty act of deliverance? That's not what it is. Ken Howard represents the face of the union to the industry. And he's done pretty damned well at that so far. He won't be developing the talking points in negotiations. He will once again be the face of SAG - and will represent the negotiating points worked out by the membership in W&Ws, and by the Negotiating Committee, and by the SAG staff and Head Negotiator. Hopefully all in joint concert with their AFTRA counterparts. And all apart from what is said by the "pundits" and the side-line snipers who have never bothered to lift a finger to work within the union to assist in the process.

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  13. Well, "Matts" - thousands strong, we leave the playing field to the Axis of Evil:

    Marisa Redundant

    T'ahm Lyin

    Fred (Sieg Heil!) Wilshelms

    and all those ALREADY dumbing down SAG, well in advance of zero hour, the 2011 TV/Theatrical contract, when the apparently titular head of the union (that's news), Ken Howard will bend to the will of the information gleaned from the W&W's ("we're broke! This contract sucks!") so as not to put any pressure on the moderates to deliver a thing.

    I'll tell you what Alan Rosenberg DIDN'T deliver: the 2009 TV/Theatrical contract, leading to the deal the "moderates" endorsed, sent out and ratified, which severely undercut the unions strength for the forseeable future. It may kill SAG entirely.

    Well done, committed warriors of the working actor.

    I'll take Alan's " accomplishment" alone, over all that Ken Howard and his "where do we sign" compatriots have already agreed to, and will inevitably bend over for in 2011.

    It's sort of like MF is the Confederacy, lost, but bloodied and unbowed, in defiance of the Moderates, who won!

    In defense of slavery.

    Good luck suckers.

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  14. From Sagwatch, regarding the AFTRA dominance in pilots.

    When even "voiceguy" tells the moderates they're full of shit, they are FULL of shit.

    Voiceguy says:
    February 10, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    This also represents fairly strategic behavior by the producer community, as it dilutes the power of SAG and makes it easier to play one union off against the other. Since the 3% rate difference between SAG and AFTRA is nothing more than coffee money in an overall budget, there is no serious financial downside to the producers making such a decision.

    VG

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  15. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Mulhern.

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  16. On behalf of Matt, I'd like to point out, the "door" is already burning, along with the rest of the building.

    Have fun inside the burning building with the rest of the moderates. "Is it hot in here or is it just me?"

    Who knew the Axis of Evil DID have weapons of mass destruction:

    T'ahm Lyin

    Marisa Redundant

    Fred (Sieg Heli!) Wilhelms

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  17. You give yourself away, Mattie. "The city is surrounded." Remember? "The door is burning."

    Has your wife divorced you yet?

    Are your kids spending the rest of your trust fund on massive amounts of therapy?

    Have you worked since you were fired?

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  18. Matt actually attempts to get to Sagwatch through this site. He is a piece 'o' work.

    How's that reputation going, Matt? Any theatres call for you these days? How about an agent? Any takers? And you're wife? as anonymous asks? Still admitting to being the Mrs?

    Get lost. Nobody wants to listen to you drool and puke. It's old. It's useless. This place doesn't want your stench. Go over to Ms. Finke. Or did she give you the heave ho too?

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  19. Today's quote from "The Politics of Glamour" by Dr. David Prindle

    "Once capitalism is acccepted as fact, the major question becomes whether the labor movement will become relatively more, or relatively less militant in its relations with management. Some activists view management as the enemy, and believe that only a vigilant and confrontational work force can hope to protect itself from exploitation. This group is usually ready to strike to force its will upon the bosses. In this book I refer to labor activists who lean in this idealogical direction as progressives, or leftists. Socialists and Communists are extremem leftists.

    At the other philosophical pole, some workers see management and labor as partners cooperating for mutual benefit. In their view, reason and good faith will allow negotiators to work out accommodations that are profitable to both sides. They abhor striking. I call those who lean to this opinion, conservatives, or rightists. At the extreme of this side are unionists who actually oppose the whole existence of unions."

    "hard-liners" - Democrats

    "moderates" - Republicans

    extreme unionists who hate unions - Kathy Joosten

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  20. Extreme Extremists who hate: Fill in the double M's

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  21. 2nd quote, (also see "definition of AFTRA):

    "No king is as safe in office as a trade union official."

    (Roberta Reardon, re-elected UNopposed, Kim Hedgepath, big money NED, going NOWHERE - as opposed to SAG, democratic, bottom-up, membership-ruled, by vote)

    "Many years of academic research into union government have confirmed the typical picture of government by self-perpetuating oligarchy, that is, by a political machine"

    (see, NY and RBD - SAG: no access to meetings by membership, no dissent allowed by collusive exclusion of counter-opinion by top officials in both divisions)

    "The ruling group is typically imervious to attack because of its control of information to members."

    (see Kim Hedgepath and her refusal to allow national board member of AFTRA to see official vote breakdown of voice- over vote, see typical AFTRA refusal to allow viewing by AFTRA members of own contracts)

    "its domination of the union administration, the members paucity of political skill, and the lack of legitimacy accorded workers who seem to want to weaken the leadership in the face of the enemy (management).

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  22. Any person or party out to "force its will" on anybody loses me from square one.

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  23. "Political machine" = Membership First (where dissent is not allowed, by collusive exclusion of counter-opinion)

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  24. I saw the headline for this article on AllTop and thought it was about airline pilots! Haha!

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  25. "Activism in SAG never helps an actor with prospective employers."

    (see gutless, coward, "moderate," corporate-appeasing, SAG-moderate, merger-happy, AFTRA supporters)

    "Former SAG Vice-President adds a more concrete warning: 'I hope you recognize that actors live in fear.'"

    (see gutless, coward, corporate- appeasing, merger-happy, AFTRA supporters).

    Reasons for merger:

    "Strength in numbers"

    No guarantee the Broadcasters "silo" or the Recording artists "silo," would be supportive of ANY labor action by actors "silo."

    Translation: ANY labor action in merges union would carry the weight of exponentially increased bureacracy, designed for the EXACT purpose of making strike nearly impossible.

    Philosophical divide in SAG remains after merger: those who appease the AMPTP, and those who are willing to fight for better contracts for actors, and against roll-backs and give-aways, as seen in the "moderates" "negotiation" of, recommendation of, and approval of, the 2009 TV/Theatrical contract.

    That philosophical divide leaves a merged enity, AIMA or "Uncle Joe's Actor's Union" with approximately half its national board recommending strength, and half recommending compliance. That in no way indicates "strength in numbers, it indicates, an "actors silo" still at war with itself, philosophically, and two other "silos" who have no obligation, or inclination to support the actors silo, should the actors need to strike.

    Also, the age-old combining of the P&H of SAG and the same version at AFTRA.

    The Mercer report, in the 2003 merger attempt, clarifed the obvious: one stronger program (SAG) will inevitably end up subsidizing a weaker program (AFTRA.)

    Translation: if you have a SAG pension coming, your benefits will decline.

    All the above is why merger has failed 16 times since the 1930's, either being introduced into SAG business, but being stopped along the way to a vote, or, voted down in full vote of both bodies, SAG and AFTRA.

    Merger has been turned down by SAG membership for over 70 years.

    Unless SAG membership wants to merge with a secretive, undemocratic, poaching, hostile, dissent-crushing union, AFTRA, into a third entity that operates much more like AFTRA than SAG, but has all the same philosophical differences that have existed is SAG since its inception, merger is NOT the answer.

    For sane people in SAG, merger is a non-starter.

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  26. AFTRA also tolerates it members working non-union (scabbing). A SAG merger with AFTRA will increase the number of non-union productions and weaken actors bargain leverage.

    In so called "New Media", AFTRA even created a space for AMPTP companies to produce non-union! SAG had already had signed over 500 production to union contracts below the $15,000 per minute threshold.

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  27. Nearly 100% pilots to AFTRA.

    This makes the case for merger with AFTRA all the more compelling, yes?

    "Do you want half your P&H going to SAG (movies) and half to TV (AFTRA)? Of course not! Let's merge!"

    "We will have greater bargaining power! We wll only have to mention strike and the AMPTP will tremble at our power! No more division of benefits, and a merged juggernaut at the negotiating table!"

    So... the producer are going AFTRA nearly 100% this pilot season, after the big shift last season. This is a massive change in only TWO years. You cannot underestimate how big this is.

    The President of SAG hasn't said a single negative word about AFTRA taking this former decades-long SAG jurisdiction.

    Why?

    The producers seem to be helping create this unstoppable, bargaining, merged, monster, by making the sale of merger easier, perhaps easy enough to get it over the hump this time, finally, after... 70 plus years.

    So, why are the producers helping facilitate merger, if it hurts them at the bargaining table?

    Counter-intuitive and certainly potentially counter-productive for the AMPTP, yes?

    I mean, SAG is actually 3.5% cheaper for TV pilots this year, so why are all the pilots going to AFTRA?

    To spite SAG? You think producers are motivated by spite for SAG? But there is a producer-friendly, pro-merger administration now at SAG, supported by a slight majority on the national board.

    So, why would the producers want to help merger, and face, in theory, a much more formidable foe across the negiotiating table?

    Well, let's state the obvious:

    "You help us pass merger, by making it an easier sell to the SAG membership, by going with AFTRA on all this years pilots, and the merger will produce an AFTRA-style, secretive, dissent-crushing union; protected from "progressives" by making their election nearly impossible, since we will hold all the levers of power, and we will deliver to you, AMPTP, a producer-friendly union as far as the eye can see."

    No more labor troubles from those "progressives" or "hard-liners" as they are currently called, at SAG.

    You know, the one's who got the upgrades in so many contracts over the years?

    The ones who have been willing to strike to get a good deal for actors?

    At the expense of the AMPTP?

    You know how, when we have 50/50 representation in Phase 1, and you can count on the AFTRA seats voting with the SAG oderate seats against any and all substantial upgrades for actors in the Phase 1, TV/Theatrical/ Exhibit A negotiations?

    Which is why we (AFTRA) screamed bloody murder when the previous administration looked into refiguring the negotiating sests as per "proportional representation?" (at the time, 95% of the work - SAG - 5% of the work - AFTRA)

    You know how we scratched your back for all those negotiations, by combining those votes to make, say, an increase in the DVD residual rate impossible - for 23 years now?

    Imagine if it was ALL votes in the bag for favorable contracts for the producers?

    Welcome to merger AMPTP.

    Help US, help YOU.

    And SAG? DEAD.

    R.I.P.

    Wake up people.

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  28. He's like a malevolent version the Energizer Bunny, isn't he? What do they call that in the real world - a virus?

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  29. "The irony is that the stars need the guild far less than ordinary members."

    (see gutless, coward, A-list weasels supporting the moderates in SAG - AGAINST a fair contract for middle-class SAG actors in 2009, when NONE of those A-list actors had to worry about money, pension, health care, for the rest of their lives. And what actually HAPPENED in 2009? Was it "a bad time to strike because of the Great Recession?" Hollywood theatrical had a RECORD YEAR, because people turn to lower cost forms of entertainment in economic downturns, as they did in the Great Depression. Some of us predicted that. The moderates, the UFS peoiple, the A-list actors, NY and the RBD AND Jonathan Handel said it was a TERRIBLE idea to stand strong for a fair deal in new media, a raise in the DVD rate, 23 years overdue, no loss of clip consent, no loss of product placement protections, no loss of force majeure.

    Well, they were DEAD WRONG. And now? It's ALL GONE, possibly for good.

    I'd call that EXTREMELY POOR JUDGEMENT if you think it through logically, and use PRECEDENT as a guide.

    The A-listers who signed that petition just didn't want a work stoppage that got in the way of THEIR plans as actors AND as actor/director/PRODUCERS)

    "On 12 April 1937, however, the U.S. Supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteeing the right of WORKERS TO VOTE FOR THEIR OWN REPRESENTATION."

    (So, actors, why aren't you getting to vote as to whether you'd rather be represented solely by SAG or by AFTRA? Nearly EVERY actor with an AFTRA card ALSO has a SAG card. It's a constitutionally upheld RIGHT. What actor would choose AFTRA over SAG. Answer? NOT ONE.

    See, that's a problem for producers, and given the moderate SAG members joining with the AFTRA board and the collusion of the AMPTP - THAT'S why you've never been accorded your RIGHT to vote on it).

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  30. Otherwise - why hasn't there ever been a vote? It's the actors RIGHT to have that vote.

    "'The pictures were sold down the river for a certain amount of money,' stated Bob Hope years later. I made something like sixty pictures, and my pictures are running all over the world. Who's getting the money for that? The studios? Why aren't we getting some money?' Mickey Rooney, imagining the income he might have received from his series of 'Andy Hardy' films, told a press conference, 'SAG screwed us and I am mad about it.' Their bitterness is echoed by many other stars."

    (reaction to the compromise that ended the '60's strike, when Reagan got a P&H program but gave away ALL residuals for films pre-1960 in return. Substitute the ridiculously low fixed rates the "moderates" agreed to in the 2009 TV/Theatrical contract for new media.

    When the SAG "negotiating team" a.k.a. the "where do we sign" team goes in, starting in October 2010 for the 2011 TV/Theatrical contract, and, as Jonathan Handel himself has said, finds out the "sunset clause" the "moderates" crow about in new media is "nothing but a meaningless fig leaf" and the AMPTP instead is only willing to negotiate from fixed rates SAG NEVER should have agreed to, fixed rates so RIDICULOUSLY low, with free windows as far as the eye can see, they make residuals an endangered species, again, as Jonathn Handel himself has attested to, what will the Ken Howard-led negotiating team do?

    What will all the SAG members in the NY, RBD and UFS groups do THEN? Will they back their words that when the executives announced in the NY Times in July 2007, they wanted "to end residuals" and they said "that's ridiculous, and if it happened, the whole town would strike?"

    Well, it's already happening, through move-over, and it will continue to happen.

    Anyone want to bet where the SAG moderates and the AFTRA people and the pro-merger people will stand when the AMPTP INEVITABLY tells SAG to go scratch?

    Anybody?

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  31. Isn't she adorable?

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  32. Oy. Anyone have an aspirin? Can someone open a window? The stench in here is like Mulch-hooey on an open fire.

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  33. "But the hard truth which emerges from an examination of the reaction of the Screen Actors Guild to the arrival of television is that there is NO SAFETY NET FOR A LABOR ORGANIZATION IN ANYTHING - EXCEPT QUICK WITS AND NERVE.

    At the very moment the unions are fashioning a haven for their members, history is CHANGING THE RULES OF THE GAME they have to play. Although the Screen Actors Guild managed to survive the transition to television BECAUSE ITS LEADERS WERE BOLD AND DECISIVE, there is no guarantee that it will always have such leadership. Whoever its leaders are, they had better keep awake."

    (Hear that Ken Howard? Ken? KEN? Somebody wake him up... Look at Amy aquinos campaign video and ken Howards words on the UFS website BEFORE their election - they WAIL about the "loss of pilots to AFTRA" - LAST YEAR. So, why haven't SAG members heard a single negative word THIS year with ALL pilots going to AFTRA? Why aren't Ken Howard and Amy Aquino SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER? - Because they WANT ALL THE PILOTS TO GO TO AFTRA - THAT'S WHY)

    "In 1971, when president John Gavin ran for President, progressives finally put up a serious challenge. Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild had begun.

    In the 1972 elections, the dissidents again ran a slate for the board, although they refrained from challenging the officers. Only one of these independent candidates, Kent McCord, was successful. Once again, while the conservatives took the results as a vote of confidence from the membership, the insurgents had reason to feel optimistic.

    In 1974, to emphasize that the change was indeed a revolution, Dennis Weaver delivered a militant inaugural address to the annual membership meeting on 18 November, promising SAG would insist upon achieving the principle of 100% residuals in the contract negotiation. 'If the networks feel it is necessary to pollute the airwaves with re-run after re-run, at least let us have an equal SHARE OF THE PIE,' summarizes his cry, which drew a standing ovation from the assembled multitude.

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  34. He was as good as his word. Although the contract ratified in July did not establish 100% return immediately, it did achieve the principal of complete residuals. In subsequent years, compensation would rise to the 100% level. Further, after 1974, actors would receive residuals based on their actual salary, rather than on scale. By removing the causes for discontent of 1971, the 1974 contract helped establish the legitimacy and popularity of the new regime."

    (compare THOSE balls - with a supportive membership, not yet in the thrall of the merger-heads and the pro-AFTRA, pro-producer friendlies - gutless cowards all - those NOW IN OFFICE - with what these SAG's moderates just REFUSED to support in the '08-'09 TV/Theatrical negotiations.

    Despite voting unanimously or near unanimously to support Rosenberg and Allen and to rally their various constituencies, these moderates SAG groups: NY, RBD and UFS IMMEDIATELY began undermining their PUBLIC votes, by working AGAINST an SAV PRIVATELY - making it impossible for Rosenberg and Allen to get the 75% necessary for a strike authorization, thereby leaving them with NO WERAPON to re-enter negotiations with the AMPTP taking them seriously.

    This was an absolute BETRAYAL, by the SAG-moderates and by AFTRA, which split from Phase 1 bargaining, citing a laundry list of "sleights" - all resolved amicably BEFORE AFTRA then walked away from Phase 1.

    Why did AFTRA walk away? Because they were colluding with the SAG moderates and the AMPTP to put SAG in the EXACT POSITION IT IS IN NOW - weakened, TV jurisdiction lost, to make merger an easier sell, and kill SAG once and for all, delivering instead a producer-friendly, AFTRA-style, NY based union, with access to the levers of REAL power totally blocked by arcane rules and various schemes to keep the progresives out of the boardroom.

    This is collusion, plain and simple. Why would the AMPTP give ALL THE TV PILOTS to AFTRA, making the pitch for merger EASIER? - so they can HELP create a "strength in numbers" behemoth across the negotiating table?

    WHY would the producers do that - unless they were actively colluding with the SAG moderates and AFTRA to create a new, dissent-crushing, producer-friendly union with bad contracts tolerated in exchange for power and money for those in the merged entity who facilitate it?

    ReplyDelete
  35. The reason Ken and Amy aren't "screaming bloody murder" is that you've got that ground pretty much covered, Matt. For all the good it does. That and the insults, lies, name-calling and baseless accusations. It will be interesting to see how many votes you rally with your hate-filled demagogic screeds.

    It's nice that you're reading one of my favorite reference books, Matt, but it would only be fair to give credit where credit is due and not attempt to make it seem as though you were actually expressing rational thought.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Having credited the author at the beginning of these posts, and having finished the book, the book actually ends where the current fight begins.

    Asner was in FAVOR of merger.

    He is vehemently opposed to it now. Why?

    Because the material in this book stops where the current problems started: the actual examination of merger, the nuts and bolts of it, and the hostile, predatory behavior of AFTRA, constantly weakening contracts via their unwarranted 50/50 seats at the negotiating table, instead of proportional representation, constantly making one-off deals in cable, with horrible contracts they wouldn't even show the cast members, containing free windows, often making residuals tiny or non-existant, the excuse being "if we didn't give them these breaks, they'd take the shows abroad."

    All explanations ringing hollow, of course, the true motivation being undercutting SAG whenever they got the chance to shore up their sinking wreck of a union by providing a cheap, producer-friendly alternative, to the detriment of the "best interests of actors."
    those shows don't produce at all, or go to Canada, or elsewhere, than weaken the standards for actors contracts. It plays directly into the hands of producers, allowing them to exploit the rift, and create the "race to the bottom" which has only been exploited by AFTRA, never SAG. Only one union has raced to the bottom: AFTRA.

    The current situation is the wet-dream fullfillment of the moderate-SAG, pro-merger, pro-AFTRA weasel: ALL TV pilots now going - in 2 years! - to AFTRA, showing a celar collusion between SAG-moderates, and the pro-merger, pro-AFTRA Judas's in our midst.

    The subject of merger will be brought up once again, as soon as Amy Aquino can get to it without totally exposing the naked collusion going on, and the pitch will be: "why give half your P&H to SAG(movies) and half to AFTRA (TV)?" and the uninformed mob will march in lock-step, right over the cliff into a merged entity of three "silos" - Broadcasters, Recording Artists, Actors, in a new union called AIMA or Uncle Joe's Actors Union.

    The actors silo will be assured - left, right, and center of its autonomy, but the boardroom will be run like the Boss Tweed system in New York City politics that dominated the city in the 19th century.

    "No progressives allowed."

    The new "union" will crush dissent, make strike impossible, and sign a series of producer-friendly deals, while keeping a rotating group of reliable "yes" men and wommen in top positions, via a less democratic election process, with appointments by committee, instead of the ground-up, membership-driven, truly democratic politics of the formerly proud, accomplished, and stalwart Screen Actors Guild, which, after 75 years as the protector of actor's rights, wages, working conditions, and pension and health benefits, will fade into history, replaced by the promoters of greed, collusion, and lies, bowing and scraping at the feet of the AMPTP, never to seriously threaten their stranglehold on "talent" again.

    Goodbye to the SAG middle-class actor. Making a living will become nearly impossible; 2nd and 3rd jobs eventually giving way to the reality that, in the absence of strong helpless pawns in the game of multi-billion dollar conglomerate, corporate interests, looking to do one thing, and one thing only: make profit go up, and costs go down, which is what this has all been about the last few years, as the producers and AFTRA looked ever so carefully for that crack to slither through, snaking their way to dominance at the expense of those that make their product.

    Those who encourage this and facilitate this, however, will never escape the verdict of those who know the truth: they are the weakest, most selfish, craven, scum, and they will never escape their true legacy as whores and thieves against the common good of actors everywhere.

    Shame on them all.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Having credited the author at the beginning of these posts, and having finished the book, the book actually ends where the current fight begins.

    Asner was in FAVOR of merger.

    He is vehemently opposed to it now. Why?

    Because the material in this book stops where the current problems started: the actual examination of merger, the nuts and bolts of it, and the hostile, predatory behavior of AFTRA, constantly weakening contracts via their unwarranted 50/50 seats at the negotiating table, instead of proportional representation, constantly making one-off deals in cable, with horrible contracts they wouldn't even show the cast members, containing free windows, often making residuals tiny or non-existent, the excuse being "if we didn't give them these breaks, they'd take the shows abroad."

    All explanations ringing hollow, of course, the true motivation being undercutting SAG whenever they got the chance to shore up their sinking wreck of a union by providing a cheap, producer-friendly alternative, to the detriment of the "best interests of actors."
    Better those shows don't produce at all, or go to Canada, or elsewhere, than weaken the standards for actor's contracts. It plays directly into the hands of producers, allowing them to exploit the rift, and create the "race to the bottom" which has only been exploited by AFTRA, never SAG. Only one union has raced to the bottom: AFTRA.

    ReplyDelete
  38. The current situation is the wet-dream fulfillment of the moderate-SAG, pro-merger, pro-AFTRA weasel: ALL TV pilots now going - in 2 years! - to AFTRA, showing a clear collusion between SAG-moderates, and the pro-merger, pro-AFTRA Judas's in our midst.

    The subject of merger will be brought up once again, as soon as Amy Aquino can get to it without totally exposing the naked collusion going on, and the pitch will be: "why give half your P&H to SAG(movies) and half to AFTRA (TV)?" and the uninformed mob will march in lock-step, right over the cliff into a merged entity of three "silos" - Broadcasters, Recording Artists, Actors, in a new union called AIMA or Uncle Joe's Actors Union.

    The actors silo will be assured - left, right, and center of its autonomy, but the boardroom will be run like the Boss Tweed system in New York City politics that dominated the city in the 19th century.

    "No progressives allowed."

    The new "union" will crush dissent, make strike impossible, and sign a series of producer-friendly deals, while keeping a rotating group of reliable "yes" men and women in top positions, via an undemocratic election process, with appointments by committee, instead of the ground-up, membership-driven, truly democratic politics of the formerly proud, accomplished, and stalwart Screen Actors Guild, which, after 75 years as the protector of actor's rights, wages, working conditions, and pension and health benefits, will fade into history, replaced by the promoters of greed, collusion, and lies, bowing and scraping at the feet of the AMPTP, never to seriously threaten their stranglehold on "talent" again.

    Goodbye to the SAG middle-class actor. Making a living will become nearly impossible; 2nd and 3rd jobs eventually giving way to the reality that, in the absence of strong union protection, actors are merely helpless pawns in the game of multi-billion dollar conglomerate, corporate interests, looking to do one thing, and one thing only: make profit go up, and costs go down, which is what this has all been about the last few years, as the producers, moderates in SAG, and AFTRA, looked ever so carefully for that crack to slither through, snaking their way to dominance at the expense of those that make their product.

    Those who encourage this and facilitate this, however, will never escape the verdict of those who know the truth: they are the weakest, most selfish, craven scum, and they will never escape their true legacy as whores and thieves against the common good of actors everywhere.

    Shame on them all.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Rearrange your meds, Mulhern.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Please Mr. Handel, stop the leaking TOILET!!

    ReplyDelete