SAG solidifies ouster of Allen

Motion on agenda at Sunday's special board meeting

The new leadership at SAG on Sunday did its level best to make sure Doug Allen won't be returning as the guild's exec director or chief negotiator.

There was no official announcement following a bicoastal board meeting, but a guild insider said the board had "readopted and reconfirmed" a motion to remove Allen from both positions.

On Thursday, SAG president Alan Rosenberg and some allies lost a court bid to have Allen reinstated. He had been the guild's top paid staffer until Jan. 26, when Allen was dismissed through a procedure known as written assent.

Use of the arcane procedure without a formal board meeting prompted Rosenberg's attempt to reverse the decision on technical grounds. Though he failed, an attorney representing Rosenberg and some other Allen supporters had vowed to appeal the court decision.

That in turn triggered Sunday's special board meeting, as which the board attempted to shore up its ouster of Allen against further legal challenge.

Former SAG general counsel David White has been appointed interim exec director. John McGuire, previously a senior adviser at the guild, has been appointed to replace Allen as chief negotiator, when talks resume with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

It's believed that could now happen as soon as Feb. 17. Sources said no date for a resumption of talks yet had been finalized, but labor and management representatives were reviewing their calendars.

SAG hasn't met with the AMPTP since November. The guild has been without a film and TV contract since June 30.

SAG board members in Los Angeles and New York were connected by videoconference for the Sunday meeting.

In a separate meeting on Saturday, the boards of SAG and AFTRA convened jointly - also using video conferencing -- to sign off on a list of proposals for upcoming commercial contract talks with advertising-industry negotiators.

SAG and AFTRA abandoned their longstanding "Phase One" arrangement of joint bargaining for the latest film and TV negotiations. But the labor organizations have agreed to resume that partnership on the commercials talks.

Officials of the labor groups said directors "approved by an overwhelming majority a package of proposals" for the commercials negotiations, which are set to start Feb. 23 in New York.

And in yet another labor-front announcement over the weekend, a group of below-the-line workers set a rally for noon Monday, to be held outside SAG headquarters in Los Angeles. An activist group called Let's Get Back to Work is staging the event to press for a speedy resolution of SAG's stalled film and TV negotiations.