Merry Christmas, A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
for her starring role on an AFTRA basic cable dramatic show poached from SAG!
Actress Glenn Close, currently starring in “Damages” an AFTRA show poached from SAG’s jurisdiction, has been nominated for a SAG AWARD.
Now I think Ms. Close is a terrific actress, but when I heard the news, I called out, “No! I don’t believe it! This is a joke, right?”
And, yes, it is a joke, a pathetic one, especially for some of our name SAG actors and actresses that have put themselves on withdrawal from AFTRA, to protest their poaching of SAG contracts–and giving away actors residuals.
Like I said, a joke, but it is also true.
Hey, folks, think about it! SAG has just taken away another reason for stars to insist on working on shows under SAG’s jurisdiction, The SAG Awards! Brilliant! Now, they can work on shows poached from SAG–and still get a SAG Award. Brilliant Again!
Look, I like Glenn Close, she’s a marvelous actress, but I ain’t gonna vote for her for a SAG Award. I’ll be damn that I’ll condone the act of poaching SAG shows, no matter how much I admire the person enabling it. Ms. Close, or any other major star, could stop this sort of poaching–that takes money out of the little guys pocket by just saying:
“No! I am a proud member of the great Screen Actors Guild, and I will not enable AFTRA, or any other union, to poach work from my guild and fellow guild members with inferior contracts and residual giveaways.”
And least, you not believe “Damages” is an AFTRA show take a gander at this.
So, here’s how it goes kiddies. AFTRA has poached nearly half of SAG’s Basic Cable shows by undercutting SAG Contracts with residual giveaways and inferior rates, and continues to bad mouth SAG in emails and, now, anti SAG propaganda mailed with AFTRA members checks.
SAG’s Leadership immediately springs into action and retaliates by putting the leading actress in one of these POACHED shows up for a SAG Award.
Are you beginning to get the idea that our union is in a lot of trouble?
Our NED Doug Allen sends out another email of his petition preaching cooperation with AFTRA, including an expansion of the Phase One agreement–a move that will concede jurisdiction to AFTRA. President Rosenberg acknowledges the following in the current SAG Screen Actor Magazine; this action would give AFTRA close to 50/50 split on cable.
By doing the above, SAG would be acceding jurisdiction to AFTRA. It would be giving credence to AFTRA’s bogus claim that it has as much a right to basic cable scripted dramatic shows as SAG.
This in spite of the fact that the 4A’s Charter–mandated after Federal elections–gives SAG jurisdiction over all acting done on TV except that done in the manner of a LIVE broadcast. (Someone please explain why SAG’s leadership stands around doing nothing while allowing a digitally, filmed show like “Damages,”–which is definitely not done in a LIVE manner–to be taken over by AFTRA? And why, instead aren’t they protecting SAG’s members from these interlopers intent on giving away residuals, something those who came before us, sacrificed to get!
Like I said, SAG continues to send out emails and statements trying to make nice with AFTRA’s leadership –while AFTRA’s leaders are now including, with members’ checks, bogus propaganda bad mouthing SAG’s leaders and staff.
Those of you who are regular readers of this website have seen enough documentation to realize that AFTRA President Reardon’s missive is nothing more than a compilation of distortions and omissions made to confuse the membership into believing that it is looking out for themwhile, at the same time, it continues to deny membes copies of inferior agreements made with employers, in order to put money in AFTRA coffers at actors expense.
I won’t comment on her distortions at this time, since I have supplied documentation to disproved most of them in previous posts. I will, however, comment on one of Ms. Reardon’s statements about this “being a time of great change.”
On this she is right. It is a time of great change. Until AFTRA started poaching SAG contracts, actors were use to getting residuals when they worked these shows.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
I joked in a previous post that if SAG didn’t enforce its jurisdiction, it wouldn’t be long until we’d be watching the AFTRA Awards, instead of the SAG awardswhat, come on Ol’ Dog, it’s only one show. Hmmm, it wasn’t that long ago that AFTRA had only one basic cable scripted dramatic show! Now they have, a last count, over twenty, pushing toward a 50/50 split.
Violations Overturn AFTRA Election
The following press release is from AFTRA. I have added a few, ah, clarifying comments.
AFTRA LOS ANGELES TO RERUN BOARD ELECTION
Voting for Local Actor and National Board Members Slated for Early 2008
Following an investigation by both the Los Angeles Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the United States Department of Labor, AFTRA Los Angeles will rerun its 2007 election for nine actor representatives on the Local Board of Directors and for 13 of the Locals
representatives to the AFTRA National Board of Directors. AFTRA member voting will be held in early 2008.
Gosh, a joint venture? If you didn’t know better it would sound like AFTRA was at the forefront of this whole investigation thingy. Hello. If AFTRA had truly investigated and decided to rerun the election, the member challenging this election wouldn’t have had to go to the Department of Labor.
The investigations were prompted by a challenge to the May 2007 election results made by a candidate. While the allegations in the original challenge were not sustained by the U.S. Department of Labor, during the course of the investigation, it was determined that Pacific Election Services Inc., the outside vendor hired by the union to oversee the Los Angeles election, made several errors in the mailing and processing of ballots.
Really? Well, we know one error that was discovered before the investigation. How do we know? Well, because AFTRA sent out the following postcard. It was sent AFTER the ballots were sent out. It admits errors on a ballot. The ballot failed to to remind voters that they could vote for No More than 13 candidates.
The company will reimburse AFTRA Los Angeles for all costs incurred for the May 2007 election, and a new vendor will be engaged to provide election services, effective immediately. The Department of Labor will oversee the rerun.
Hmmm, seems like AFTRA will have a lot more in common with their buddies at the AMPTP than they bargained for. Both will be involved in reruns. The good thing to come out of this rerun is that it means that in the re-run election, AFTRA will not be able to pull any of the shenanigans that they pulled in the previous election. (See story below)
“Assuring our members a fair and proper election is a top priority for AFTRA Los Angeles. When we learned of these errors by our outside vendor, we advised the Department of Labor the union would voluntarily rerun this election to guarantee the integrity of the election process,” said William Thomas, AFTRA Los Angeles Local Executive Director.
If you think AFTRA did this voluntarily, I got some Miami Dolphin playoff tickets, I can let you have real cheap. The Ol’ Dog’s information is that AFTRA fought them tooth and nail the whole way. As for the Department of Labor, it gives violators the opportunity to volunteer to correct violations before proceeding. You better believe AFTRA volunteered!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
If you want to know more about what caused this challenge, the following is a story the Ol Dog posted at the time.
This from the Hollywood Reporter
A couple of years ago, AFTRA only had onebasic cable scripted dramatic cable show. But due to their low-balling and poaching of SAG’s contracts, with inferior minimums and residual giveaways, they now have just at forty percent of those contracts, including all but one of the half-hour shows.
Meanwhile as SAG does nothing, they continue to pick actors pockets to put money in AFTRA’s coffers.
And what has our leadership done about it. They’ve issued a petition proposing cooperation with AFTRA. Well, while they continue to try and make nice, as the following notice from AFTRA makes abundantly clear, the emboldened AFTRA leadership of broadcasters and voice-over performers–who already have one hand in SAG actors pockets, are preparing to finish them off– by stabbing them in the back with the other hand, during SAG’s upcoming 2008 TV/Theatrical negotiations.
AFTRA, until now, has limited itself to going after digital shows on primetime. A close reading of the carefully worded document above, reveals an implied threat that AFTRA will no longer limit its organizing to digital shows. Thus making it fairly obvious that as far as AFTRA is concerned cooperation is over and it will be going after shows under SAG’s jurisdiction.
And, even though their jurisdiction only covers shows shot in the manner of a live broadcast, they intend to go to war with SAG. And that they will do it by trying to undermine SAG’s negotiations and poach our network primetime shows with their producer friendly “whatever you want” contracts that include free network streaming and residual giveaways.
And still, our leadership vacillates, not really sure how to handle the situation, instead of rallying the troops and standing up to AFTRA’s declaration of war.
AFTRA has stated publicly that they will be going after SAG’s Primetime Contracts! And SAG is still talking about cooperation
Have our leaders gone CRAZY. Instead of still talking about cooperation our NED and President should issue a joint statement to the press that SAG will take ALL STEPS NECESARRY TO PROTECT ITS JURISDICTION.
You want to get high-profile actors attention, let the trades make them aware that AFTRA is going after ALL of SAG’s jurisdiction–and that will do it. Too much of what is going on is going unnoticed by most of our working actors.
The Ol’ Dog was having stogies with a couple of well-known actors at a local smoke shop a while back. One, a series regular, didn’t mince words over the situation. His remedy was to the point. “F*ck AFTRA.”
So, instead of pussyfooting around with those who would destroy our union, what should we do?
Well, for starters, instead of meetings with the AFL-CIO’s actors jurisdictional arm, the 4A’s, with endless haggling about whether AFTRA can leave the organization–let’s cut to the chase, and get a ruling on THEIR OWN DAMN CHARTER.
The one, that we’ve posted a photocopy of on this website. You remember, the one that gives SAG jurisdiction over ALL acting on television, except that done in a live manner.
You can read the document in the article on this website.
But, while the 4A’s is considering that, SAG’s leadership shouldn’t wait. But, rather they should act immediately, and take every action necessary to assert SAG’s jurisdiction, in order to protect SAG actors’ residuals and Pension & Health.
Not only should SAG do everything to inform the membership how they are being screwed by AFTRA, but they should be given SAG’s plan of action to stop AFTRA’s jurisdiction raiding.
And after SAG has informed the membership, it should immediately have a referendum to LET SAG ACTORS DECIDE WHO THEY WANT TO REPRESENT THEM ON ALL ACTING ON TELEVISION.
Next SAG, as is their right, should inform employers that should they make contracts with any union, for shows that are under SAG’s jurisdiction, they will make them without SAG Actors. (The ability to enforce this is in SAG’s constitution.)
Can AFTRA try and take SAG to court. Sure, anyone can sue anyone. But without the support of actors, and with the jurisdiction charter based on a previous NLRB elections, on SAG’s side, I don’t they’d get too far.
In the meantime, if you were a producer, or studio, would you go to AFTRA and risk millions of dollars on a project, if you could use only AFTRA actors.
The Hollywood membership voted out the “go-along-to-get-along” Restore Respect leaders because of their inaction and weak contracts that were enabled by our AFTRA partners–under the Phase One cooperative agreement. Well, guess what, its time now for them to stand up and do what members elected them to do.
Look, all the blame does not rest on the shoulders of our NED Doug Allen, or president Alan Rosenberg, or our Hollywood board. Most of it can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the SAG Membership. They asked for your support and guidance, unfortunately, the only ones that made their voices heard was a tight-knit group of broadcasters and voice-over performers with their pro AFTRA and ATA capitulation message.
NED Allen, laid out how AFTRA was screwing members, yet the bulk of the (form) letters that he received, were from this same group and were critical of his article. You know, New York and branch USAN supporters. The same ones that used their board seats, and official status, to urge members to sign a petition of AFTRA propaganda on a website maintained by, you go it, AFTRA.
If you don’t want to end up in a couple of years watching the AFTRA awards on TV, instead of the SAG Awards, you damn well better get involved, and let our leadership know that there are members who will stand by them, when they take direct action to not only protect our interests, but the interest of our great guild.
The first step, and it won’t take a lot of time on your part, is to go to this link http://www.gopetition.com/online/15560.html and sign the only petition that I’ve read that advocates that SAG protects its jurisdiction.
Hmmm, I see that NED Allen has sent out the SAG Cooperation petition for more signatures. How long will it be before every one gets that AFTRA is not interested in SAG’s cooperation but, rather, it’s capitulation.
Personally, it’s the Ol’ Dog’s opinion that cooperation with AFTRA, after it has raided your jurisdiction, is sort of like getting cozy with a burglar you caught leaving your house with your things.
Look, if we enforce our jurisdiction, there will be no need for Phase One, because when AFTRA stops its poaching of SAG’s contracts–all actors will be under one roof–SAG’s!
In regards to AFTRA’s Leadership’s plan to undermine SAG’s TV/Theatrical Negotiations, I pretty much go along with the sentiments of that series regular I smoked a stogie with.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Okay, now what would go good while I read NED Doug Allen’s latest email? Huh, yeah, well now there’s a thought.