SAG N.Y. to reject bloc voting

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SAG New York's board said Wednesday it will refuse to recognize bloc voting among negotiation committee members should national guild leaders in Los Angeles attempt to institute the practice for the guild's next round of contract talks.

The stance is effectively a public show of support for the AFTRA performers union, which jointly negotiates with SAG in its contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The labor organizations' current agreements with the AMPTP expire June 30.

In advance of negotiations on new SAG and AFTRA pacts, SAG's national board has said it intends to institute bloc voting on the joint SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee. That would see SAG members caucus separately and then place a unanimous vote on any matter coming before the committee during its talks with the AMPTP.

SAG New York said it agrees with AFTRA that bloc voting runs contrary to terms of SAG and AFTRA's longstanding Phase One agreement. Phase One guidelines form the basis for joint bargaining by the labor organizations.

SAG New York president Sam Freed said he also believes bloc voting runs afoul of SAG constitutional restrictions.

"We are defending the guild constitution," Freed said. "That document protects the interest of the membership, and we are concerned that current actions by guild leadership ignore those protections."

SAG New York officials claim SAG's Hollywood-based leaders have attempted to stifle criticism of bloc voting.

"We feel it is our fiduciary responsibility to express our belief that the motion to adopt bloc voting was and is unconstitutional," said Sue-Anne Morrow, a SAG national board member based in New York.
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