Tuesday, August 7, 2007

AFTRA, SAG act like foes

AFTRA, SAG ACT like foes?

I think they're getting pretty close to just being foes.
A quick follow up to my Union mega-post a couple days ago, more news about the simmering hostility between these organizations is surfacing over at Hollywood Reporter.

"On Saturday, the SAG national board voted to keep its so-called Phase
One relationship with AFTRA in place, giving its smaller sister union
50-50 representation on negotiating committees like one to be formed
for film and TV contract talks. The current SAG-AFTRA pact with the
Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers is set to expire
June 30, and negotiations on a new agreement are expected sometime
after Jan. 1.
But the vote to affirm Phase One came with a
controversial addendum suggesting SAG will seek to change how voting is
conducted on the negotiating committee, sources said. Under bloc
voting, SAG members on the committee first would vote among themselves,
and positions favored by a majority of that group would be lodged as a
unanimous vote by all SAG committee members.

In their letter, Reardon and AFTRA national executive
director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth opposed bloc voting on grounds that it
would "create a structure of two separate negotiating committees that
Phase One was created to avoid."
The AFTRA leaders said they were responding to news
accounts of SAG board actions and would make no assumptions pending a
SAG response.
"The bloc voting described by the trade press is of
course completely antithetical to the history and purpose of Phase One
and as a practical matter could result in unwieldy deadlocks during
negotiations," the AFTRA officials wrote.
Hedgpeth said it would be premature to speculate on how AFTRA might respond if SAG proceeds with its bloc voting plan."

Not really all that surprising that AFTRA wouldn't be too happy about this. It's really tricky. The radical in me thinks the time for two unions is over (and would come with the added benefit of reducing the amount of dues 40,000 actors would have to pay being members of both), but the realist in me would be content to have stricter separation over what union handles what job. The fact that a game, for example, could be either SAG OR AFTRA is unacceptable.
It's looking to me like the unions are going to lose yet another round to production due to in-fighting and chest-thumping...

Read the rest here!

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