SAG's letter to members raises ire

AMPTP says 12 pages are 'filled with misrepresentations'

SAG and the AMPTP are at it again -- though not at the bargaining table.

The AMPTP said Tuesday that SAG's 12-page missive sent to members this week outlining the faults the union has with the studios' final offer is nothing more than a one-sided mailing designed to tell the actors' negotiators the only answer they want to hear: that the deal is bad.

"The two questions on the postcard 'poll' are written in a completely one-sided way, characterizing the June 30 final offer as unfair," the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers said in a statement. "The 12 pages of material accompanying the postcard are just as one-sided and filled with misrepresentations."

A prime example, the AMPTP pointed out, is SAG's contention that informal talks are going on between AMPTP members and SAG leaders.

"No informal negotiations regarding SAG's TV/Theatrical contract have been going on, and for SAG's negotiators to suggest otherwise is to intentionally mislead the membership," the AMPTP stated.

Earlier in the day, SAG's chief negotiator and national executive director Doug Allen released a statement pointing out that the AMPTP has asked the union several times to send the producers' final offer to SAG members. And now that they have done so, the producers are objecting.

"It is understandable that the studios and networks are concerned about the members' reaction to a proposal that contains incentives to produce non-union and no residuals for new-media productions reused by streaming on the Internet," Allen said. "It is appropriate that we inform our members and seek their input on these critical matters."

SAG started sending out to members this week the 12-page update, laying out the reasons why there is no new contract with the AMPTP.

The newsletter includes questions and answers to several key issues, including why SAG has not accepted the AMPTP deal even though other unions have.

"The working life of an actor is not the same as a writer's or director's and our contract solution can't always be the same," SAG said in response.

In addition, the newsletter includes a postcard to be mailed back to the union polling members about the AMPTP's offer. The postcards are due Sept. 15, three days before the results of SAG's national board election are announced.

The two poll options to choose from are: "Continue negotiating with the AMPTP to secure a fair TV/Theatrical contract for actors with better terms than the AMPTP's June 30th 'final offer,'" or "Accept the AMPTP's June 30 'final offer' without modification."

The AMPTP also said the poll questions were written in a one-sided way, characterizing the offer as unfair.

"AMPTP has made the new-media template work for directors, writers and actors (in two separate AFTRA agreements) and all have now gone back to work," the AMPTP said. "It's long past time for SAG members to begin enjoying the higher wages, plan contributions, streaming and other new-media residuals already being paid to other guild members.