Here’s Michael J. Fox (pro) and Martin Sheen (con), both exclusive to Deadline. See the previous videos from Ed Harris (con) and Modern Family (pro):
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.
Your information is safe and secure.
This article was printed from http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/sag-aftra-merger-pro-and-con-videos/
Martin Sheen is clearly speaking to a different generation of “working” actors. His terribly produced video here carries no useful information. He is speaking in arbitrary terms with no definitive facts and uses silly analogies. M.J.Fox is a terrific poster child for the merger!
the fellow people whom said that Michael J Fox said something important with the “strength in numbers” quote while Martin Sheen said nothing of value missed the whole point. Of course there is strength in numbers… No one is denying that. I can only assume that you have not read the whole proposal. They want us to merge without ANY IDEA of how our insurance, pension, etc will be distributed, calculated, etc. What if it is worse? Don’t you want to know first? And there will not be an increase in jobs. Think about it… The same amount of movies will still be made, the same amount of TV shows will be made, so if they raise the background workers from 21 to 24… Oh! That makes it worth it! Come on! Michael’s argument was we should be joined because then you don’t have to read your paper work of whom your working for, we will all be the same. You should ALWAYS read your contract or have your agent / manager do so. Martin is not trying to sway you at all, he is simply challenging you to read for yourself and I do as well. And as Martin said, if you read it all and then still want to vote yes, then okay, but I bet you will end up voting “NO” as I did twice, because I am in both unions.
What these respected actors both encouraged was reading the info sent with the ballots. I attended the first NY meeting, watched a subsequent streaming meeting and read the package info. If the package answers all of your questions, read it again. The “Statement in Opposition” in the packet raises concerns that were not addressed at either of the merger meetings I saw.
Compare the health plans, as they exist today. How can an actor with a family who is lucky enough to qualify for the AFTRA health plan, turn around a pay more than half of those earnings back as a premium? A merged union health plan premium would certainly be higher than the SAG one is now. Why was so much work done to lower minimum dues, instead of lowering P&H qualifications so more members can actually benefit from their benefits? What working actor wants to pay the minimum dues? Was this done to appeal for the votes of those who act as a hobby, haven’t worked since Bonanza or have abandoned any hope of ever qualifying for P&H?
I would rather merge with a stronger union, like the Teamsters who understand member benefits & aggressive negotiations, than with a group that allows broadcast members to work non-union. A SAG vote NO & an AFTRA vote NO.
I agree. I want a strong ACTORS union. This agreement is bad for actors. Removal of direct vote. Removal of majority vote. Earnings capped at a rate 400% great than broadcasters. Its a lie to state this merger will end split earnings- it wont unless they can also merge the plans- which is doubtful given the lack of an ERISA compliance report.Broadcasters will be allowed to continue working non union.I heard Roberta state in the “informational” meeting they they have repeatedly failed to organize the broadcasters because every time they do their employers offer them higher pay not too. So much for solidarity and Global Rule One. Size does not make us stronger. Strength makes us stronger. Merge with weak you will get weak. Vote no.
“M. J. Fox is a terrific poster POSTER CHILD for the merger!”
Mr Shalansky’s unfortunate designation of Fox as a “child” — a “poster child” — calls attention to Unite for Strength’s shameless exploitation of Mr. Fox’s advanced Parkinson’s Disease to make a false point about merger.
Unite for Strength has made pension-and-health-plan merger the centerpiece of its campaign, alongside the equally false claim of “more bargaining strength.” We have been promised that all our pension & health contributions will be going into ONE bucket.
But, as the AFTRA H&R Trustees said loudly and clearly, there is absolutely NO GUARANTEE that the SAG & AFTRA plans can or will be merged; and there is no guarantee whatsoever that SAG members will not LOSE benefits by having their superior plans fused with the vastly inferior AFTRA plans.
And please stop telling SAG members that the Federal government (PBGC) will pick up the tab for any shortfall in their pension benefits. How many other retirees, who have been robbed of their pensions, are getting 100 cents on the dollar in replacement funds?
Unite for Strength should apologize for misleading Michael J. Fox — an admirable MAN — and for using him as their propaganda “poster child.”
Michael j. Fox has always been such an advocate for so many important causes and people. He is an inspiration who gets that we need to move forward as a UNION of ONE, to help all actors bargain with strength and continue to get benefits. Thank you Michael, I am proud to be in a union with such thoughtful actors and humanbeings such as yourself.
Martin Sheen uses a lot of metaphors but didn’t say anything useful about why you should vote against it.
Sheen is clearly a consummate politician: He said essentially nothing. “I’m against it and you should be to, so research it yourself!” What? That’s leadership? That level of “reasoning” wouldn’t pass muster on a high school debate team. Pass.
Did you know that SAG will not let the anti- merger side place any ads on the website or send out cards to the members? Why not? Is our union supposed to be doing what is right for us? Why would they hide stuff? Why would they not let both sides be out spoken so we can decide? Can’t you see they are deciding for us? Doesn’t this alone tell you to vote NO? Did you know they can give themselves salaries if we vote yes? Maybe that’s why they are pushing this so hard? If you vote yes on this merger and it goes through then please remember me Anne elect me to the new board so I can get paid to make decisions for you. HA! What a crock! Vote NO and make them get it right!
I agree. It is just wrong. Sheen is correct to point out the pension issues. They are very real. Vote No.
Sheen’s analogy about buying a house without a professional inspection gets to the heart of this matter. Continuing in that vein, I would say it’s precisely like buying a home without knowing if you can afford it.
This current merger proposal with absolutely no financial information is akin to the banks handing out all those “terrific” home loans saying “don’t think about the numbers. We’ll worry about that.” How did that work out for us, America?
Where will SAG’s current health and pension money go? Will it be combined with AFTRA’s anemic funds? Will both SAG and AFTRA’s separate funds simply be frozen as separate with no new contributions? Will the new plan be to pay anyone owed a SAG or AFTRA pension money from those individual funds until the money runs out. The plan being the new union, SAGAFTRA, could instead create a brand new SAGAFTRA fund from the ground up paying out benefits only to those vesting in SAGAFTRA– the NEW union– and offering no new SAGAFTRA credits to those vested in the old separate funds of SAG or AFTRA because those pensions are not receiving any of the new monies?
You can stamp your feet and say, “that’s crazy! They’d never create an entirely new fund for the entirely new union!” But without them letting us know what their plan is we just can’t have ANY idea what they are planning.
Logic dictates they have a plan–at least a loose plan–but they’re not sharing it with the membership. You HAVE TO ask why? It’s your money, future, pension, and health care.
And let’s don’t forget, AFTRA President, Roberta Reardon rather quietly made her historically voluntary stint as a President of that Union a PAID position as of late. In an unprecedented move she withdrew $42,000 of your contributions to pay herself for the rigors of being a VOLUNTARY elected official in your Union. Will this move set a precedent? Is the plan that in the SAGAFTRA with BOTH presidents will draw a salary?
Look, we all want one Union. And we all want to live in a lovely home. But in order to make either or both of those work we need to do it with a PLAN– a FINANCIAL PLAN.
As with all financial decisions, if you make a decision without any information you will likely lose your shirt, home, pension, health care, or whatever it is you don’t care enough about do some number crunching.
We don’t have any numbers. We can’t crunch them. We can only hope that Reardon– the salary creator– and her good friends have our best financial interest in mind unlike all those smiling bankers who gave you the home loan followed by the eviction notice.
And remember, the membership, if it votes up this merger, is giving up its right to any of the future financial decisions in the creation of the new SAGAFTRA. I’m not comfortable leaving my hard-earned money in a pile in the middle of Hollywood hoping it’s spent in my and my fellow Union sisters and brothers best interest. We’ve worked too hard to be that trusting with our future.
Demand a plan. Peruse the plan. See if it works. Then let’s do this.
Without a plan: Vote No.
You express your side extremely well. Unfortunately, it will probably pass because of people liking the idea but not really seeing the possible consequences. I plan to vote against it since I don’t want it said that people voted overwhelmingly for it, and I hope that others who don’t want to vote on what will lock us in with no guarantees of protection of SAG health care plans & pension. The first rule of negotiation is to get what you want the most first, and then give away the littler things. This is being done “butt” backward.
Hoo boy, this post is full of so many innacuracies it’s hard to know where to start. First of all, both P&H plans are entirely separate legal entities from the unions, so he’s confusing the “financial plans” of three entities – the new union and both pension & health plans.
Second, The financial plan for the new union is in the documents that were mailed to membership with their ballots. It spells out many things – including cheaper dues for dual cardholders.
Third, Management occupies 50% of the Boards of Trustees of both p&h plans. They aren’t “hiding” the financial plan. They don’t have one. Management doesn’t want the unions to merge. Management-appointed trustees won’t vote to come up with a plan because they are against merger.
AFTER we merge they will be forced to vote to come up with a plan. And if you’ve seen any similar plans (like the leaked Mercer report, which did NOT contain the scare tactics that anti-merger folks said it did), you will see that each plan has multiple contingencies. That’s why they’re called PLANS.
The fact is, with 45,000 dual-card-holders currently splitting contributions into 2 plans, it is hard for me to see how a single plan will be any less safe than the current two-plans are.
But it’s all besides the damn point – The ONLY relevant issue is that there are two unions jockeying for jurisdiction, and there is only ONE solution – merger. Decertification? It’s been tried. It didn’t work. Hell, I’d be for it if it would work.
Imagine what kind of a monopoly on consumer goods there would be if TARGET merged with WALMART. We have the opportunity to merge TARGET and WALMART, for GREATER MARKET SHARE.
Actually- you are the one who is inaccurate. To say that they will be forced to come up with a plan is patently untrue. You can merge the unions and never merge the plans. Without an ERISA compliance report this is undetermined.AND- unless they can merge the plans there will be no end to split earnings.
As far as jurisdiction- SAG can end this buffoonery by going to the NLRB and demanding the encrochment stop. There is no real shared- jurisdiction here. This was determined in the 1960s- but has been disregarded. It is likely that the NLRB would say exactly the same thing it did in 1951: “live TV – AFTRA,” – “all scripted programming for television – SAG” and “digital – ‘method of capture’ is not a determining factor in jurisdiction”
Michael J. Fox is a true Actors’ Actor. He is right on about merger. He gets it.
no he doesn’t. he is ill informed and so are you. you like the idea of the merger but you will be the first one who complains when 15% of your residual check is taken out. or the board does something to screw you out of your money and you can’t do anything about it.
the idea of one union is great. just not under this proposal.
When two tired old leftists like Martin Sheen and Ed Harris oppose the merger, you know that voting YES is the way to go.
I respect the opinions of both actors, but it’s time for our unions to merge, I voted yes.
Fox is right. Our work is distributed differently now. Hulu pays zero to use our work. Internet re-runs pay zero. Non-union actors are making commercials for nothing. AFTRA Cable runs pay nothing and all aftra deals have eliminated any livable reuse payments for netwrok runs. In fact, the ONLY way to make a living now as an actor is to produce your own work (like Clooney, Hanks & Fox)or work in news as a reporter or anchor. If you are an actor working under an AFTRA contract you are the reason so many SAG members are starving. I don’t blame actors for taking aftra work, I blame aftra for stealing SAG work, but it seems Fox wants one union because he doesn’t even know who he works for or why… Well, that explains a lot Mikey, but it doesn’t mean SAG members should roll over and die just because aftra wants us dead and you don’t know what contract you signed… SAG Members deserve much better than AFTRA can provide. That’s just a fact.
The producers are always going to take the cheaper option. As long as AFTRA exists as an alternative to SAG, SAG has no leverage. Merge. Otherwise you’re going to die out on principal.
An contract agreement means nothing if not enforced. Seems to be our contract says that actors get paid some pittance – was it $20.00 – a year for webbites Intentional misspelling) like Hulu playing actor’s movies/tv shows. Anyone every even get that amount? Not my husband.
I’m presumming that a merger would be permanent? If so, then the time should be taken to get it right.I have many questions, few, if any answers were presented in Michael or Martins videos. Where cn i go to get objective sensible and complete explanations re: the “Main objective” of this proposed merger? With Regards, adam sheppard : )
I’ve been a working actor for almost 20 years now. This is a VERY “in the shadows” dealing. Why aren’t we aware of what our future holds as far as health plans. pension and insurance? I was told we have to MERGE first, then and ONLY then can we find out. WTF?!? It’s after it’s too late and THAT is why I voted NO. If we were informed BEFORE, I could fall in line like others but I ask…HOW can you vote on something that you don’t even know the outcome? One union sure, but WHO benefits?
Who benefits? SAG/AFTRA employees. They’re guaranteed no layoffs, whether no union needs them or not. Also, highly paid newscasters don’t have pay in. Then why do actor stars need to pay in?
What really rankles me is hearing that SAG officers/members who wanted to speak against the merger were asked to leave by Central Casting, but pro-merger people were allowed to stay and talk with actors. I don’t care what side someone’s on; in America everyone should be allowed to express it, within reason of course.
Every column I read by an anti-merger person is very well thought out, while the pro-merger seem to just be gabbing… Is anyone else seeing this? Vote “NO”.
To my mind, it’s very simple, and all the arguments “against” do not address the core problem: These guilds/unions have been jockeying for jurisdiction at least the last 40 years.
In that time we’ve seen SAG put caps on union background in a successful effort to get multi-cam sitcoms from AFTRA in the 80′s. Who got hurt? Members.
We’ve seen AFTRA give away concession after concession to producers to “organize” basic cable. Who got hurt? Members.
We’ve seen SAG forced to sign the latest TV Land deal with those same concessions, or risk seeing the work go to AFTRA. Who gets hurt? Members.
We’ve seen the debacle of the 2008 negotiations, leaving us with competing contracts in prime-time. Literally showing us what happens when we DON’T negotiate together. Who gets hurt? Members.
And with the advent of digital we’ve had weaker and weaker contracts. Who gets hurt? Members.
It doesn’t matter who started it. If you are blaming one or the other union you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. If you’re blaming one or the other institution you’re forgetting that, as members, we ARE the union. Do you want to learn from history or be doomed to repeat it?
The only way to change the outcome is to change the equation. Do something different. Vote YES. Vote NO and we’ll have more of the same.
Let’s not forget that actors used to be burned at the stake. Not so long ago they had to sneak Moliere’s body into the cemetery at night because the church and the “nobility” didn’t want an actor buried among the “good people.” This for one of the most famous actor/playwrights in history… Actors have had to fight for any and all the respect we now take for granted, and that includes every single benefit in union contracts – including bathrooms on set. Why would we give up that power by giving the Producers the ability to continue pitting us against each other?
I voted YES.
Very well put Michael and completely possible… in an ideal World. The reality is, AFTRA is run by a total and complete incompetent who has proven over and over again her vile disgust for SAG Members. I too believe there is strength in numbers, but if you believe for one second going to war with Roberta Reardon in charge is a smart move, you are flat out wrong. I’ll go to war with my fellow actors against any and all enemies,but the problem is, Reardon IS the enemy. A Merger would be a wonderful situation if all parties involved had nothing but good intentions, but I can assure you Michael, Reardon does not. Merger yes, but not now, not like this and certainly not with a very self-serving, back stabbing aftra leadership. We can do better. We must do better and I believe we will. I voted, “No”… Peace.
Thank You, Michael J. Fox!
He recognizes that these 2 unions have more in common than the opposition would have us think, and that to remain relevant in a changing landscape we have to merge! Yet another voice of sanity and leadership on why it is time for these unions to become ONE.
Martin Sheen speaks so generally, and it’s the same old same old we heard from his out-of-touch cohorts in 2003. I know very few actors who would say things have improved since the last merger attempt was only narrowly defeated in SAG, and Martin and his band that are suing SAG have no real regard for what the membership has been asking for in the last 3 SAG elections. And they use fear as a means of getting people to vote it down.
Michael J. Fox speaks passionately and with conviction as to why this needs to happen, and what a GOOD thing it will be for all union actors. I applaud his coming forward to deliver this message. Vote YES on merger!
How could Martin Sheen, a man I know to be thoughtful and honorable, sit in front of a camera and babble on so fruitlessly? There are MANY reasons to resist merger, and he failed to enunciate any of them clearly (and touched on only one in fairly indecipherable fashion). What a waste. What a damaging clip. Isn’t there anyone who can help these men make a decent video statement?
I voted no.
Nice to watch Michael J Fox nail it. Merger is what is needed now. The work has changed incredibly since I shot my first job in 1960. Move forward or die.
Thank you Michael J. Fox. It’s heartening to see someone with so much skin in the game do what’s right for actors.
I’m not even sure what Sheen’s message is, except vote no because he is. Pretty bad video Martin.
Too many questions unanswered. Too many reasons not to incorporate in Delaware. Too many people stretching what little truth we’ve been given. Not enough time taken to figure out what will really happen to our pension and health (and please give me a break on telling us that that will all be figured out AFTER the silly merger idea merger passes. God forbid).
I voted NO X 2.
The no people seem to be older LA area SAG members who are either paranoid about pension issues or have nostalgia for the past. It’s 2012, not 1955.
See comments from Michael below. Thank you for that post.
I meant see ABOVE! Voting Yes.
Maybe it’s time for AFTRA to get with the times and become a real union instead of undercutting it’s actors and then we merge under strength.
If my decision was based on persuasive influence alone, I would have to say Michael J. Fox would have swayed my opinion to vote yes in approval of the merger, if I were against the Union merger that is.
Mr. Sheen’s banter did nothing but express as one other person stated, a political agenda. He said nothing that informed, in fact he said nothing at all.
Michael J. Fox stated all of the sound logical reasons the two unions should merge; strength in numbers. To Mr. Sheens response I say that if we wait until all avenues are balanced we will never merge, because they shall never be balanced. We must take action now and tie up the ends of the two unions once they have merged.
I don’t know. Vote YES sounds like a lot of Obama “win the future” “hope” “change” claptrap. A lot of buyers’ remorse on that score going around.
Most of the people voting yes, are non working AFTRA members who are merely in the business as a hobby. None of you actually make a living in the business, and are what is really wrong with our current union in the first place. You want to merge the unions, but have no plan. You don’t care about the pension, because you have none. You don’t care about the dues increase, because you don’t make any money and it won’t effect you. There is no plan for anything other than to merge. You don’t want to listen to Martin Sheen’s advice, because you would actually have to spend some time and read to educate yourself so you could make an informed decision. Something sheep don’t do. They just do as their told. Go ahead and vote your union down the toilet, Fools!
Firstly, we could rightly see the end to AFTRA – a.k.a The Ship of Fools – go down really quickly if all the actors in it would simply stop paying their dues for just one quarter! AFTRA is anemic and the yes votes on anything from that union aren’t coming from the non-actors … those yes votes are stemming mostly from the vapid EXTRAS who have been told a whole bevvy of lies, mostly from the idiots who work at Central Casting. Go poke your head in the door at one of Central’s visiting days and see for yourselves what they’re drilling into these moronic background “actors” heads! The P.A.’s and A.D.’s on sets aren’t helping either. They, too, have encouraged the dumb little sheep to ignorantly following the big bad wolf.
Secondly, I am against this merge, but I have to agree with nearly all the above posters that BOTH Fox and Sheen have clearly rambled on and said absolutely nothing at the same time. Have some balls and start stating what’s really on your minds! Fox obviously can’t function without the health insurance either way and is scared if they don’t merge, that there still won’t be enough contributions to the SAG P&H Fund and thus, damning his future. But he doesn’t seem to get that merging without clearly defined answers make obliterate his pension and health overnight! And Sheen simply hasn’t out right said what’s missing in this mess: What contracts will the actors be working under and where will their monies be contributed to, effective immediately as well as tomorrow and into the great beyond. Those behind the merge don’t care to share with you what they are planning to do, they just simply want you to say yes, even if that means they’re planning to give you a lump of coal for your retirement and a $1400 medical voucher to use at your discretion per year. State the facts, people!
Thirdly, the issue is not IF we should or should not merge. The issue is if we want to blindly merge without any definitive parameters guiding us the entire way through or not. These particulars must be clearly defined from the get-go because once a merge goes through without those parameters being set, the actors of both unions stand to get screwed carte blanche from those controlling the movement who aren’t composed mainly of actors, but rather common day idiots who joined AFTRA, because AFTRA will accept members who make donuts for a living. One doesn’t even have to work in the entertainment industry to join AFTRA. Consider that they want actors to merge with a union with people who work in real estate, gas stations or in government, but aren’t necessarily out to be entertainers. What kind of a useless union is that and why should any of us be forced to join hands with them?
So this isn’t AT&T looking to swallow T-Mobile and create a monopoly or a “stronger network”. This is AT&T nitpicking apart the fact that they are half composed of piss-off Barnes and Nobles employees who need a life preserver to grab onto so they can have some company while drowning in their own futureless misery. Sorry to say, but AFTRA has been a dying union for a very long time, and had it not been for the mostly brainless extras who handed away television contracts to them, we wouldn’t be in this quandary.
The answer is quite simple: Quit paying your AFTRA dues and let this rotten tank of stink go under already. Then if they are really serious about the entertainment industry they can join the true actors union: Screen Actors Guild. Don’t associate with AFTRA scum and agree to crawl in bed with them. Vote NO on this ill-advised pile of nothingness!
The central question I hope members are asking themselves before they get sucked into voting “yes” by some slogan, or some simplistic rendition of why we are where we are, is, is this in the best interest of screen actors.
No, it is not.
The idea that defending the jurisdiction of SAG, which has clearly been stolen by AFTRA, with the complicit allowance of that, by the pro-merger forces in our SAG leadership, to produce a producer-friendly union that never strikes – is somehow supposed to bow down to the “we must merger, there is no other way” LIE of the pro-merger SAG and AFTRA leadership?
Is the result of a sustained, carefully considered and executed propagandized political strategy foisted on the membership of SAG, by, among others, Ned Vaughn, SAG’s 1st VP.
In 1951, in a remarkably similar set of circumstances, The Television Authority, or, the TVA, had seized upon the explosion of actors work in a new and seismic shift in the technology and possible profit stream for the industry, television, to cut a series of deals with producers of television that was all emanating from New York City.
At first it was “live,” as in “we are broadcasting this as it is happening, real time.” The existing technology only permitted that at the time. then fairly quickly, it became apparent there would be rapid upgrades in the technical advances in television. It soon became possible to “capture the image” then, edit in post production, and broadcast the show at a later date.
the Screen Actors Guild decided to ask the National Labor Relations board if they would hear a debate over whether or not, this “scripted programming for television” was properly assigned to a new bargaining agent (TVA), or, as SAG contended, an infringement of the jurisdiction of the Screen Actors Guild.
the central question asked of the producers who signed shows with the TVA was “why do these actors, these “workers” need a different bargaining agent for this work?” what is different about this work, or unique, that requires a different union?
Long story short, the answer was “nothing” and the subsequent definitive ruling by the NLRB so decimated the TVA, they effectively disbanded, giving their “T” to the radio union, AFRA, hence, AFTRA.
The decision was, SAG – all scripted programming for television, TVA (soon AFTRA) – “live TV” or “television performed in a live manner.”
Why? The “workers” – the actors, were, despite the best efforts of the producers to keep their shows with the TVA (because it was vastly cheaper, and they didn’t have to deal with the established tough negotiating Screen Actors Guild) clearly demonstrated to be doing the same “work.” Get script, memorize script, rehearse script, block for camera, shoot. Same as in movies.
The television industry, for all intents and purposes, moved to Hollywood in short order. The core resentment in this 17th attempt to “merge” (this will be the third full referendum, there were 14 previous moves that never made it out of the SAG boardroom) is the anger, an anger so powerful it still fuels many of the top pro-merger advocates to this day, that snobby “Hollywood” took NY’s television ball and went home.
And I say that as a NY SAG and AFTRA division member of over 25 years in both unions. I relocated to Los angeles and became Hollywood division member of both unions for around 6 years at one point.
This dynamic, despite the testimony of so many Hollywood-based, (career wise at least) A-list actors, including Michael Fox in this video, has metasticized over the years to include the “regions” – all the SAG branches in everywhere, including Peoria (I’m not kidding), and, of course, the cabal that keeps a close watch over the 25,000 odd NYC division SAG members.
With the addition of Unite for Strength, our current leadership of SAG and AFTRA, and the aMPTP, we are witnessing the Screen Actors Guild as it fights for its life. it is on life support, let’s call it what it is.
Why? Well, the votes, that’s why. Hollywood, foolishly, SAG Hollywood, over the years, tried to be “friendly” with AFTRA, with the NY division, it allowed the “regional branches of SAG” a supposed “national union” (that was, in fact, a California incorporated, not for profit, entity, clearly Hollywood based and clearly intended to remain so) to mushroom, until one day, it turned around, and found itself outvoted, on a national scale. That was a grievous mistake, and the former SAG leaderships, over the years, too sheepish to nip this in the bud, too worried about offending AFTRA, their “sister union,” if SAG does not survive, bear the ultimate responsibility.
the simple truth, however, is thart AFTRA realized from day one, that, if it didn’t focus on getting as much acting jurisdiction as it could, it would not survive. And it’s important to remember, AFTRA is, and always has been more a “business” than a “union.” They have and have always had a core mission – “survive.” It became evident after the 2003 defeat for merger, that AFTRA was going to have to seriously increase their raiding of SAG jurisdiction, and so, they did.
They poached,, they created deeply inferior contracts, they set up direct competition, despite being “partners” in “Phase One to merger” bargaining with SAG, to allow, whenever AFTRA could swing it, producers to “choose” AFTRA, because, AFTRA was cheaper.
When, in 2008, AFTRA bolted “Phase One” bargaining, afger 27(?) years of negotiating side by side with SAG across from the AMPTP, AFTRA understood this was it’s single best chance to not ony finally achieve merger, but to achieve a merger at the expense of SAG, an AFTRA-centric merger, if you will. AFTRA signing the worst contract in the history of its largest contract, Exhibit A, forced SAG’s hand, and because former SAG president Alan Rosenberg and NED, Doug Allen would not be the ones to put their signature to what they knew may very well lead to the destruction of SAG,, exactly where we are today, wouldn’t sign.
The support for the SAG government went from 100% of the SAG national board to get a fair contract, to the complete turnaround of the vote of the same SAG national board, voting Rosenberg and Allen out, via an obscure and never before used for anything approaching such importance, political maneuver, “written assent” to remove Rosenberg from being allowed to speak for SAG any longer and the firing of Doug Allen.
UFS led SAG takes over, signs the worst contract (TV/theatrical) in the history of SAG, gives away new media with a terrible, terrible, deal – despite shouted warnings of many who have an awareness of the 2 looming precedents of giving away contracts on huge tech leaps: Home-video/DVD (a 5 billion dollar loss for SAG to date) and cable (a series of disastrous SAG-allowed, AFTRA contracts of lower minimums and free windows, often leading to less, and at times, no, residuals. Again, AFTRA’s parasitic, never-ending quest to keep the “business” – the staff, the large salaries of the leadership staff, the 1.9 billion dollar pension fund, running. The “business” of AFTRA is worth a nice chunk of change, and they will do anything and everything to preserve that money, which is what this is all about, including destroying SAG as a legal entity, creating a Delaware incorporated and therefore based (Delaware? Hmmm. Do some research into that choice) entirely new “union” called SAG-AFTRA.
And all it has supporting it? Slogans. “Strength in numbers,” “strongest union possible,” “we can’t be divided,” and so on. Here’s is what it all is:
It is TOTALLY about the 2.9 billion dollar SAG pension fund and the 1.9 billion dollar AFTRA pension fund. It is TOTALLY about delivering to the AMPTP, a producer-friendly union that never strikes, hence the support of the A-list, who no longer feel particularly connected to, or interested in, whether or not the VAST majority of the membership of the union that ALLOWED those very stars to have a career with vital union protections in the first place, get a fair deal, or not.
The A-list does not give a rat’s ass about the 99.5% of the union they could get a fair contract for if they simply, as ALL A-lists of the past in the entire history of SAG, did, insisted management give the union a fair deal. Many of them know EXACTLY what they are doing, like Tom Hanks, who PRODUCED the classic “Band of Brothers” NON-UNION in 1999 – 2000 BEFORE Global Rule One came into play. Think ALL those actors saw anything but dirt low up front salaries and haven;t seen a DIME in the millions of dollars in residuals? No, they haven’t. Ask one.
Many stars simply have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, but they know one thing: GET ON THE SAME SIDE AS TOM HANKS.
SAG is going to die, unless this is stopped in court, which it very well may be. there is currently a lawsuit pending saying there was lack of due diligence done by SAG, which is an obvious truth. SAG did not do a pre-merger actuarial (you know, with numbers?) study of the possible impact on the P&H SAG plan and the AFTRA H&R plan and what may, after a thorough actuarial report, be most likely to happen. Membership has been left in the dark. Why. The merger-enthusiasts know, if a study, a proper study is done? Merger will not pass. there are simply too many negative trying to combine two plans of such differences.
If they had nothing to hide? If they thought it would be a net-positive to win the merger vote? They would have done it IMMEDIATELY. they did not. there is your single biggest red-flag as to why this merger is a TERRIBLE idea.
They, both leaderships, have nothing but guess-work – and ill-informed guess-work at that -regarding this vital issue, the MOST vital issue in merger. the new union will allow an entire wing, broadcasters to work non-union. and yet, somehow, the actors will be expected to work union.
And the most offensive propaganda of all, is “we have no choice but to merge.” That is simply a LIE. SAG has perfectly legal steps it can and will take, very similar to the last NLRB jurisdictional ruling from the NLRB, to regain ALL SAG’s rightful jurisdiction, re-gain the full health of its far superior P&H plan, and distance itself from the predatory and parasitic actions of AFTRA, once and for all, NEVER to threaten the Screen Actors Guild EVER again.
SAG DESERVES BETTER SAG MEMBERS. IT HAS WORKED AND PROTECTED YOU, FOR 79 YEARS. NOW IT NEEDS YOU TO PROTECT IT AND DEFEND IT – OR YOU WILL LOSE IT FOREVER – AND THAT WILL NEVER BE “IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF ACTORS.”
Thank you Matt for that well-informed and expressed post. As the old saying goes: those who disregard history are doomed to repeat it.
Comments On Deadline Hollywood are monitored. So don't go off topic, don't impersonate anyone, don't get your facts wrong, and don't bore me.
Email address (will not be published):
Your website: (optional)
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>