SAG's roadshow commences

Informational meetings will take place nationwide

SAG will hold members-only informational meetings around the country in the coming weeks about the TV-theatrical contract offer the membership will soon vote on, the guild has announced.

Under a "YES for Your Future" logo, interim national executive director David White and chief negotiator John McGuire reminded members in an e-mail that the national board of directors voted April 19 to approve the contract offer and send it on to the membership for a ratification vote with a positive recommendation from the board. The old contract had been expired since June 2008.

Ballots for the new agreement will go out to paid-up members May 19 and must be returned by June 9.

The slight majority of the board that supports the contract offer's passage, including the Hollywood-based Unite for Strength party and most reps from the New York and regional branches, plans to hold meetings in Los Angeles and New York as well as regional locations not yet named.

The Los Angeles meeting, in the Hollywood Ballroom of the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, will take place May 21. This is the same day that ballots in the less controversial commercials contract vote need to be returned. Similar informational meetings were held for members of SAG and AFTRA during that voting window.

The New York meeting for the TV-theatrical contract will be held at the Directors Guild headquarters June 1. Both meetings are closed to nonmembers, and SAG task force negotiators and board members will be on hand.

"We know how important this contract is to all Screen Actors Guild members," White and McGuire said in the e-mail. "We urge you to stay informed by visiting often, attending the member informational meeting in your area and contacting us with questions and comments."

The MembershipFirst party, which holds a slight minority on the national board, plans its own campaign to persuade members that the offer should be rejected. SAG president Alan Rosenberg and his allies believe that the contract offer is unacceptable and that a rejection would pressure the companies to improve the deal.

Anti-ratification forces have held protest rallies weekly over the past two months and have their own event planned for May 17 in L.A.'s Griffith Park.

When the national board officially voted to approve the offer, it was by the small margin of the pro-passage alliance's 53.38% to Membership First's 46.62%. Leaders of the pro-passage wing of the union have also hired the Saylor Co. to do a PR campaign to support voting yes on the TV-theatrical contract.

SAG originally announced that ballots would go out in early May, but the guild needed more time to craft pro and con statements, as well as rebuttals to each, to include with the ballot materials.