Following by Scott Wilson:
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, ensured that every citizen would be able to exercise his/her constitutional right to a vote. The Act has been extended 3 times, most recently in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Now that right is under attack yet again in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and others, and it seems that the Screen Actors Guild has joined the assault by denying to members their right to vote on a matter of major importance to the life and livelihood of our membership.
Our right to residuals has been summarily waived by a Standing Committee of the Screen Actors Guild on the recommendation of staff. This waiver applies to residuals paid by the cable station, TV Land, a subsidiary of Viacom. We are told by staff that it only applies to productions with a budget so small that there are currently no productions that would qualify.
What is wrong with this picture? Why would TV Land, a subsidiary of Viacom, with access to a raft of highly paid attorneys, be asking for a waiver of currently non-existent residuals? Any member with an ounce of common sense can see where this is leading. There will be more waivers. It is no minor matter.
This waiver has breached an important principle. It is no minor matter. Residual income is of primary importance in the lives of performers. It must never be waived.
If staff and a majority of this Standing Committee’s members can, against the vigorous objections of the minority, secure a waiver of these non-existent residuals, then more will follow and they will be real residuals, lost to real people.
Our Screen Actors Guild constitution protects the right of our members to vote in a referendum on collective bargaining agreements (Article XI, section 1) and on rules and regulations governing our relations with “persons, firms or corporations connected with the motion picture industry” (Article XVI). Amendments “of a minor nature” can be approved without referendum but only “by a vote of the majority of the Board of Directors voting thereon”. This amendment is not minor and it was not voted on by the Board of Directors. This waiver contravenes the provisions of our constitution. Any waiver of residuals is a waiver of an important principle and requires a referendum of the membership.
Staff recommended this waiver to the Standing Committee. Staff will not suffer any loss of income or of contributions to their Pension and Health Plan from this waiver or any future waivers. I would like to ask Mr Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who sits on the Board of Trustees, to explain why Staff continues to receive a 3.5% accrual rate in their pensions even after members have been reduced to 2.0%. Are we to expect this to continue after merger? What more advantages will be given to staff after merger while members benefits continue to diminish?
If merger is approved, the right to vote in a referendum now present under the SAG constitution will be significantly diminished. In a circuitous and subtle fashion, the constitution of SAG-AFTRA has altered the provisions requiring a referendum and/or a vote of the Board so that these requirements become very much weakened or lost altogether.
Protect your residuals and your Pension and Health benefits.
Vote NO to merger
Way to go Scott!!!!!
The Ol’ Watchdog