Friday, December 14, 2007

Tensions between SAG and AFTRA heating up again?

Just sent in to me from a friend.
It looks like SAG and AFTRA will be feuding again.
A concerned group of SAG actors have posted a petition to the Screen Actors Guild Board, and it has collected almost 400 signatures since December 2nd.

The concern:
To the financial detriment of actors, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is undercutting Screen Actors Guild contracts by offering inferior wages and benefits in jurisdictions that traditionally belong to Screen Actors Guild.
The petition:
Protecting Actors

Resolution to Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors

WHEREAS a steep price has been paid by actors who came before us to acquire residuals and the Pension & Health benefits that have become the lifeblood of actors, and a steep price is being paid now by the writers to prevent free exhibition days and to gain a fair compensation in the continued exploitation of creative work;

And WHEREAS our Phase One collective bargaining partner, AFTRA, is giving away what the writers are currently on strike to secure, (AFTRA gave away simultaneous internet streaming, 10-20 play days on cable in the first year, multiple plays per day, no residuals on any of these plays and thus no pension and health benefits);

And WHEREAS, by federally authorized elections, these shows are not AFTRA’s jurisdiction but are Screen Actors Guild’s and have been raided from S.A.G. where residuals and Pension & Health benefits would have been paid;

And WHEREAS in 2002, without a membership referendum, the AFTRA National Board gave the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) financial interest in exchange for $500,000; the same package that was rejected by a vote of the S.A.G. membership;

And WHEREAS we have such fundamental differences with regard to residuals, Pension & Health benefits, the proper place of agents in their representation of actors, and the participation of members in decisions critical to their welfare;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Screen Actors Guild take every measure available to enforce its jurisdiction up to and including taking a vote of actors to determine who they want to represent them in collective bargaining agreements in all aspects of their work.

I don't want to pick sides here, but I will say that I find it unpleasant to have two guilds divided over the same space. SAG and AFTRA share some forty thousand members, and any time a contract is up, they spend more energy trying to undercut each other than working out a fair deal with production. As long as this bargaining position is maintained, actors will never have true "collective" bargaining, and the contracts negotiated will continue to work towards the actor's detriment. Either there needs to be a clearer division between who gets what, or the two guilds need to merge.

This is of course easier said than done...

Read the rest of the petition here.

Thanks David!

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