Former SAG President Alan Rosenberg Denounces Current Leadership as 'Liars'
It was a blast from the past Thursday – a fiery one – when former SAG president Alan Rosenberg stopped by an anti-merger protest in front of SAG and AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles and charged that the effort to merge the two unions “is being accomplished by liars.”
“These people are lying about their intentions,” he continued, stating a moment later that he was referring in particular to current guild president Ken Howard and first vp Ned Vaughn. “Their goal is to make sure no one in this town will strike,” he said, arguing that “SAG now and AFTRA for a long time” have been too compliant with management.
Harkening back to disputes in 2008-2009, Rosenberg added angrily, “they called our characters into question.”
The former president’s comments came during conversation with this reporter and one of the approximately 30 people at the protest, which came a week after a similar event of about the same size.
Rosenberg also pointed to pension issues, saying that the leadership was not answering questions regarding the effect of union merger on the SAG pension plan, and asserting that “(the guild) constitution demands we do an impact study” – i.e., an analysis of the financial impact that union merger might have on the pension plan.
The language of the SAG constitution does not actually require an impact study – at least, not expressly. Instead, the language only says that certain committees “agree to recommend” to the SAG and AFTRA boards that a study be conducted. However, as The Hollywood Reporter first reported, merger opponents have prepared and may file a lawsuit alleging that this language should nonetheless be interpreted to require an impact study.
It’s not known if Rosenberg will be a plaintiff in the lawsuit if one is filed. If so, he’d be reprising a role he played in 2009-2010, when he, along with then-vp Anne-Marie Johnson and then board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord sued the guild and numerous board members in an attempt to undo board actions that restarted stalled negotiations with the studios. The lawsuit quickly fell short of those goals, but sputtered on for about 18 months anyway.
Rosenberg was president of the guild from 2005 to 2009. Howard won the presidency in 2009, while Rosenberg ran for – but failed to obtain – a seat on the national board, achieving instead a position as an alternate. A year earlier, in 2008, SAG voters had delivered a narrow majority to the pro-merger Unite for Strength slate, headed by Vaughn and current guild secretary-treasurer Amy Aquino. That began a trend that continued in 2009, and grew into virtual sweeps for UFS in 2010 and 2011.