Every side of SAG in search of support


While SAG members got some relative peace during the holidays, the airwaves were not completely silent. In the matter of the recently delayed strike-authorization vote, voices on both sides of the debate continued to chatter and cajole.

E-mails from SAG's MembershipFirst and Unite for Strength factions have gone out to members in the past week in search of support and to impart information about the balloting that has been moved from Jan. 2 to sometime after an emergency board meeting set for Jan. 12-13.

On Dec. 29, Amy Aquino and Arye Gross of UFS e-mailed supporters asking whether they wanted UFS board members at the meeting to allow the authorization vote to go through or to pressure SAG leadership to rescind it.

The next morning, national executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen fired off an e-mail — one of several to come in a "Know the Facts" campaign — that aimed to dispel the charge that a strike would "shut down the industry." The missive purportedly was in response to a common question at the recent town hall meetings that SAG leaders have held for members to educate them on the issues.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers responded by declaring that Allen's claim "simply defies reality."

"The 100-day writers strike — which resulted in the writers receiving the same terms that the DGA achieved without a strike — cost our economy $2.5 billion," the statement read. "A SAG strike would cost the working families who depend on our industry even more — at a time when everyone is already under extreme pressure by the unprecedented national economic crisis."

Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg plan to hold more town hall meetings in the lead-up to the Jan. 12 face-to-face board meeting in Los Angeles.

While SAG leaders hope to use that opportunity to shore up support for passage of a strike authorization, UFS and other opponents hope to persuade them to withdraw it and replace the negotiating committee with a "task force" that represents the more moderate makeup of the board. (partialdiff)