No matter what else you hear going forward, Larry David will not be going on strike (yeah!). Neither will David Spade (um…yeah?). That’s because the union that covers the casts of David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Spade’s CBS comedy Rules of Engagement announced earlier this week that a majority of its 70,000-plus members had ratified a new three-year contract with TV and movie studios. This is the first indication that Hollywood actors may not walk off the job, thus sparing the town of its second major work stoppage in a year.
But not everyone is thrilled by the news. The powerful brass of SAG, showbiz’s largest actors’ guild, had tried to dissuade the smaller group, AFTRA, from signing off on a deal that, among other improvements, promises pay hikes and residuals for Internet downloads. ”We had the moral victory,” declared AFTRA president Roberta Reardon. ”We beat off an incredible attack that was extremely well funded and well focused. I’m sure [SAG] will truly spin this to make themselves look glorious.”
Indeed it only took a couple of minutes for the larger union to do just that. SAG president Alan Rosenberg released a statement declaring a different kind of moral victory: After all, more than one-third of AFTRA’s members had voted against the plan, he maintained. ”Clearly many SAG members responded to our education and outreach campaign and voted against the inadequate AFTRA agreement,” Rosenberg said in a statement. ”We knew AFTRA would appeal to its many AFTRA-only members who are newspeople, sportscasters and DJs to pass the tentative agreement covering acting jobs.”
His ”victory” lap around Hollywood may be a short one, though. There are few people who want to put the entertainment industry through the type of pain it endured this winter when the writers walked off the job for 100 days. So Rosenberg won’t likely be able to persuade 75 percent of SAG’s 120,000 members to vote for a strike.