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Screen Actors Guild negotiators call for strike vote

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Sagcontractsigns_l

With additional reporting by Vanessa Juarez

Sagcontractsigns_lRemember all those worries about an actors’ strike if the union didn’t get the deal it wanted from the conglomerates?  Well, it’s far from over, folks. Yesterday, the Screen Actors Guild’s negotiating committee issued a recommendation that its National Board call for a strike authorization vote from the 120,000 members. The union cannot walk the picket line until 75 percent of members who vote on the issue say it is okay. The National Board is set to meet Oct. 18.

SAG is the lone holdout still negotiating a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (its previous deal expired in June). Guilds for the writers, directors, and daytime actors all signed new pacts with the major studios in the last year. Internet residuals continue represent a key sticking point in SAG’s stalled talks with the AMPTP. According to the advisory motion approved by the negotiating committee, “Negotiators…have requested that the AMPTP return to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair deal, and the AMPTP…has refused to change their position and continued to refuse to meet to attempt to advance the negotiations.”

addCredit(“David McNew/Getty Images”)

The AMPTP responded by questioning whether this was really the time to talk about going on strike, especially given the dire situation on Wall Street. “Not only is the business suffering from recent economic decisions, but if ever there was a time when Americans wanted the diversions of movies and TV, it is now,” the AMPTP said in a statement. “The DGA, the WGA, and AFTRA reached agreements on comparable terms months ago, during far better economic times, and it is unrealistic for SAG negotiators now to expect even better terms during this grim financial climate. This is the harsh economic reality, and no strike will change that reality.”

Another major Hollywood strike so soon after last year’s Writers Guild of America work stoppage would be devastating to the economy in Los Angeles, where one in 10 jobs is said to be in the creative sector. As it is, Bloomberg News just reported that foreclosures in L.A. have tripled, and a strike would not only affect those who directly work in the entertainment industry, but those who make a living off of the biz peripherally, like interior designers and architects, for example.

TroyGould attorney and former WGA counsel Jonathan Handel, who has been blogging about the negotiations for quite some time, believes that a work stoppage now would be a risky roll of the dice by SAG. “A strike would almost certainly cause the studios to withdraw the offer on the table, and what SAG would get at the end of a long and bitter dispute is likely to be worse, or little better, than what they could get now. What SAG needs to do is close a deal promptly and live to fight — or strike — another day: mend the relationship with AFTRA, build closer alliances with the WGA, train its members to circumvent the studios by writing, directing, and producing their own new media productions, then come back strong in three years.”

Related Hollywood labor news:

Private Practice stars elected to SAG board

Will Smith sounds off on potential SAG strike

Pressure growing on SAG to avoid strike

AFTRA reaches deal with AMPTP

Directors cut deal with AMPTP

WGA ends strike

The AMPTP responded by questioning whether this was really the time to talk about going on strike, especially given the dire situation on Wall Street. “Not only is the business suffering from recent economic decisions, but if ever there was a time when Americans wanted the diversions of movies and TV, it is now,” the AMPTP said in a statement. “The DGA, the WGA, and AFTRA reached agreements on comparable terms months ago, during far better economic times, and it is unrealistic for SAG negotiators now to expect even better terms during this grim financial climate. This is the harsh economic reality, and no strike will change that reality.”

Another major Hollywood strike so soon after last year’s Writers Guild of America work stoppage would be devastating to the economy in Los Angeles, where one in 10 jobs is said to be in the creative sector. As it is, Bloomberg News just reported that foreclosures in L.A. have tripled, and a strike would not only affect those who directly work in the entertainment industry, but those who make a living off of the biz peripherally, like interior designers and architects, for example.

TroyGould attorney and former WGA counsel Jonathan Handel, who has been blogging about the negotiations for quite some time, believes that a work stoppage now would be a risky roll of the dice by SAG. “A strike would almost certainly cause the studios to withdraw the offer on the table, and what SAG would get at the end of a long and bitter dispute is likely to be worse, or little better, than what they could get now. What SAG needs to do is close a deal promptly and live to fight — or strike — another day: mend the relationship with AFTRA, build closer alliances with the WGA, train its members to circumvent the studios by writing, directing, and producing their own new media productions, then come back strong in three years.”

Related Hollywood labor news:

Private Practice stars elected to SAG board

Will Smith sounds off on potential SAG strike

Pressure growing on SAG to avoid strike

AFTRA reaches deal with AMPTP

Directors cut deal with AMPTP

WGA ends strike