“Membership First Bushwhacked” Part One: An UPDATED Response by SAG Watchdog Editor & Chief, to an e-mail sent out by Restore Respecter Rebecca Bush ATTACKING Membership First Board Members in an effort to SELL the dues increase to reluctant voters.


Here is Ms. Bush’s e-mail, along with your humble SW editor & chief’s brilliant responses.

Dear Fellow SAG Member,

Bush: Recently, you received a ballot asking you to vote to increase your dues. Unfortunately, this is a difficult, but necessary, action we must take together for the continued fiscal health of our Guild.

Miller: SAG posted that the guild has a 12 Million dollar surplus as of 2003! This despite Mr. Pisano’s excesses. Read on!



Bush: No one on the board is asking you to do this lightly.

Miller: And apparently the membership isn’t taking it lightly either! Thus, this sudden resurgence of pro-dues-increase finger-pointing e-mails. Obviously, CEO Pisano is not happy with his daily updates on how the vote is going!

Bush: Remember, we are increasing our own dues, as well.

Miller: Remember, also that the same board members that are adamantly pushing you to raise YOUR dues, are the same board members that just amended the constitution to give themselves a way to avoid paying THEIR dues, for up to SIX MONTHS, minus a day, and still serve on the board.

Bush: HOWEVER, the members of a group called Membership First have chosen to politicize this vote by sending emails designed to convince you to vote this down.

Miller: How dare them! Ms. Bush’s e-mail pushing for this increase is of course non-political! Oh, by the way, in violation of both California Corporation Code and guild Custom & Practice, the current leadership is denying those opposing this increase the customary access to the membership for 3500 dollars. CAN YOU SPELL CENSORSHIP?

Bush: What they don’t tell you is that when the cold, hard facts were presented to the Board, almost half of their own group voted YES to support the dues increase!

Miller: What Ms. Bush and her group neglects to tell you is that Every Single One of the Restore Respect board members voted YES! Think about, not a single ONE of them voted against this even though branch board members, CRYING POVERTY, requested and got the dues break that I eluded to earlier! Oh, by the way, ballot literature indicates that Branch Members will get a waiver on their initiation fee. This even though Melissa Gilbert said the big hike in initiation fees is necessary because there are already too many members in SAG. Apparently, there are not too many branch members. Oh, by the way, the branches are at the core of Ms. Gilbert’s power base!

Bush: Even they could see that it is needed to preserve our viability.

Miller: The truth of the matter is that most of those that voted for the increase, did so because they were concerned that those in power would use their LACK OF A “WAR CHEST” as an excuse to get us a lousy new Three Year Contract!

Bush: But, consensus and responsibility quickly took a back seat to petty politics so now, they urge you to vote No. BUT look at those who VOTED Yes:

Valerie Harper YES

George Coe YES

Leigh French YES

David Jolliffe YES

Renee Aubrey YES

Al Checco YES (although he now says he’ll vote no on his ballot!)

Arlin: Looks like Ms. Bush is contradicting herself here! She says THOSE Membership First Board Members that voted yes are now urging you to vote NO. Then she turns right around and admits that only ONE of them has said he’ll change his vote!

Bush: How do you spell HYPOCRITE??

Miller: Hmmm, after that last contradiction, I’d say it’s spelled with four letters and starts with a “B.”

Bush: Their emails make several accusations, so let’s go through some of them: They say that money has been frittered away on silly things like: Merger-Consolidation which Membership First opposed and which would have saved enough money by combining space, staff, technology updates and organizing to have made this dues increase unnecessary.

Miller: Apparently Ms. Bush is so caught up in her Bushwhacking that she seems to have forgotten that not only Membership First opposed Consolidation but it was VOTED DOWN by a constitutional majority! As to those cost saving.they got off to a less than auspicious start when they proposed giving AFTRA’s Gregg Hessinger a 62% percent raise of a *money$155, 000 dollars so that his salary would match CEO Pisano’s, which at that time was a “paltry’ *money $405, 270 dollars!

Bush: Staff who negotiate our contracts, track our residuals, defend us against lawsuits, pass legislation to try to stem runaway production, find answers to better monitor commercials residuals, enforce Global Rule One, track our meal penalties and overtime, enforce health and safety rules, up date our infrastructure to provide more services for YOU the member.

Miller: Actually, the complaint of those opposing this increase is that although Pisano eliminated staff, The worker bees: you know the ones who get out our checks and stuff like that, the total disbursements for employers went up. According to the LM-2’s filed with the SEC in 2002 total disbursements for employees was *money$13,947,365. Well, guess what, folks, according to the 2003 LM-2’s, Pisano terminated 69 employees but the total disbursements for employees WENT UP to *money$14,096, 625. That’s the kind of cost cutting we can do without!

The total, ah, disbursement to Mr. Pisano’s $468,323 ($425,426 salary, $42,897 expenses) went up to reportedly a *moneyHALF A MILLION DOLLARS! I say reportedly because his total package is being kept CONFIDENTIAL from the very members that are paying for it. I checked the Minutes for the January plenary when his new THREE YEAR DEAL was made, ah and guess what, folks, the “DEAL” was made under the cloak of CONFIDENTIALITY! I guess we’ll just have to wait for those 2004 LM-2s! Oh, but we do know that Mr. Pisano got an extra *money2.3 Million for the sale of SOME of his Netflix stock. You know, Netflix? Mr. Pisano sits on their board! Oh, and they have a revenue sharing deal with our employers. Oh, by the way, Mr. Pisano advised our board NOT to go after an increase in DVD’s because it would be a deal breaker.

I don’t know about you, folks, but I’m bushed from disproving all of these false accusations! So, let’s just call this Part One! You ain’t gonna believe what’s in part two.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !