Monday, February 9, 2009

SAG Board Re-Do Successful

The SAG Board met yesterday and re-affirmed actions already taken in writing two weeks earlier: the ouster of former National Executive Director Doug Allen and the replacement of the negotiating team. That action paves the way for resumed contract talks with the studios, which are expected to start next Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 17-18, according to sources and other media reports. Negotiations will probably continue over a period of a few weeks, as a significant number of issues remain.

The Board’s vote would appear to render moot a lawsuit filed last week by SAG president Alan Rosenberg. However, according to a source at yesterday’s board meeting, Rosenberg’s Membership First faction argued that yesterday’s board meeting was itself invalid because it was called by the interim National Executive Director, David White, who was appointed by the written document that Rosenberg’s lawsuit deems to be invalid as well.

A judge reviewing the lawsuit last week disagreed, and it seems unlikely that Rosenberg’s threatened appeal will gain much traction. However, given SAG’s tangled history over the last 12 months of mostly non-negotiations, Rosenberg and his fellow Membership First plaintiffs 1st VP Anne-Marie-Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord can be expected to try to keep their lawsuit alive as long as possible.

The vote in favor yesterday was 59%, which was up from 53% when the written assent document was used two weeks earlier. The change results from two Membership First board members, Angela Watson and Keith Carradine, breaking ranks and voting with the SAG moderates.

In other news, the preparations for joint SAG-AFTRA commercials negotiations are apparently going relatively smoothly, with talks the JPC (representing advertisers and ad agencies) expected to start in two weeks, on February 23. The Guild will thus be in the unusual position of having to negotiate its two largest contracts simultaneously, as well as possibly having to continue to fight litigation by its own president.


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