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SAG Determined To Push Film Industry Off A Cliff

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UPDATED: 12/12/08

A year ago the WGA was on strike, film and television production was at a standstill and tens of thousands were forced out of work during the 100 day dispute. The entertainment industry has not fully recovered from the estimated $2.5 billion in losses.

The country is now going through an economic meltdown with increasing unemployment and major industries near bankruptcy. Washington has opened up the Treasury and will probably give away close to $5 trillion to stave of a full economic collapse.

Rosenberg and Allen at the wheel

Rosenberg and Allen at the wheel

Despite this grave economic reality, SAG President Alan Rosenberg and it’s National Executive Director, Doug Allen are trying to rally their membership into a strike vote. The strike authorization ballots will be mailed on January 2nd, 2009. If 75% of the returned ballots approve the authorization then SAG can call a strike at any time.

Rosenberg and Allen have been pushing their strike agenda for a long time. They started this campaign well before the Writer’s Guild struck in November 2007. Then continued their rhetoric  after the DGA agreed to their new contract in January which led to the WGA deal. They pushed so hard that they shoved AFTRA right out the door who promptly negotiated a new contract with the AMPTP.

Even after 45 days of talks between SAG and the AMPTP no agreement could be reached when their contract expired on June 30th. It’s been a war of words ever since. The producers say they will not give SAG a better deal than they have agreed to with the DGA, WGA, AFRTRA and IATSE.

Rosenberg says that they don’t want to strike, he only wants the authorization to call a work stoppage in the delusional belief that this will bring the AMPTP back to the bargaining table and SAG will improve on the final offer tabled last June.

What is Rosenberg smoking? The AMPTP has previously blistered SAG leaders as “tone deaf” for seeking to go on strike amid the current economic crisis.

Rosenberg replied, “It’s also curious that these global corporations are preaching to us about the bad economy,” he added. “Like it’s our fault. As middle-income actors we are the victims of corporate greed. We didn’t cause this turmoil.”

Rosenberg talks like a Marxist while he was living large, sucking off the reported $6 million a year his wife, “CSI” star Marg Helgenberger earns. But that gravey train will come to an end as Marg  filed for divorce on December 1st after 19 years of marriage.

Rosenberg’s accomplice in SAG’s failed leadership is his Executive Director, Douglas Allen who was paid $520,902 according to their LM-2 filing for fiscal 2008. That’s a big payday for someone who has done nothing to help SAG win at the bargaining table.

Rosenberg and Allen are just trying to save their jobs by getting SAG to authorize a strike. The reeling economy has every studio in town looking at trimming costs and the first to go has always been labour.

The new model will be cheaper television shows, fewer feature films and a massive downsizing of  studio overhead.

The Writers strike in 1988 led to the creation of Reality shows. The strike of 2007/08 resulted in a loss of 10% of television network prime-time viewers. Overall ratings are down and all four networks are re-tooling. That means fewer jobs for writers, directors, actors and technicians.

The net contract gains that the WGA won through it’s protracted strike were all lost while they walked the picket line.

SAG will loose even more if they strike and the film business will be changed for the worse.

Here is food for thought from Daily Variety’s Dave McNary: If authorization fails, SAG must settle

12/12/08 Update: Read this: N.Y. SAG leaders oppose strike

Posted: 1650PT  12/11/08


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