SAG Actors Get A New Vote: But About Contract, Instead of Strike?


Better news for all actors: Now a win-win-win situation?

New SAG Plan: instead of putting out a “strike authorization”, for the professional actors, of SAG to vote on…they are sending out something different…an AMPTP contract authorization. Directly, to the SAG members, to see it for themselves, and to vote on whether to accept it or not.

What IS the AMPTP CONTRACT, actually?? Well, it states the “bottom line” level, (the lowest pay scale) that they are proposing: to pay for acting…now and in the future.

(….What they are ‘offering’ is “bupkus”…)

It’s not much different, now, it’s just a direct choice for actors, instead of the representative leadership.

(This is according to Nikki Finke’s column: ‘Deadline Hollywood’ and if you really want the skinny on the underhanded moves of the AMPTP during this, and during the prior Writer’s Strike (WGA), she’s the one with the real goods, and the guts…)

Alan Rosenberg

Alan Rosenberg

The SAG Strike would’ve been about whether or not to accept the same contract.

If the SAG strike is what is causing such terror and public uproar, then…

My own vote, on this changed-SAG-vote, is that it’s brilliant!

So much wasted energy, and actor leverage/actor-power has been spent on internal arguing and blaming. Blaming the people that are available and safe to be blamed. (Can’t bite the hand that feeds, right?)

Ridiculous, I have always thought…for actors to blame the Alan/Allen leaders of SAG.

(BTW…SAG Leadership didn’t compose the AMPTP CONTRACT ! That was created by the hands that won’t feed you, Actors. Those that think you will do anything for a job, and actually…besides not paying you for your work, the AMPTP contract —the new “final” contract, according to the Producers/Movie Studios side—literally takes away meal breaks. While working. So, under the new terms, not only will you not be able to afford food, to eat at home…you won’t even get a food break on a 10 hour day, on the job. Is it okay, with you, not to eat? Dieting, aside, I do mean.

It’s called “French Hours” by the way, having no set meal-breaks. You just nibble when you can, if there’s time. Apparently, they film that way in France…Fine, I’d agree to it, here, if they’d start serving fine French food on movie sets.

You know what would really win me over?? If the AMPTP started to give actors a teeny tiny bit of the honor that France gives to their actors, and artists of all kinds. Or how about just a bit of respect. (Even a false showing, that would be better than anything I’ve seen yet. )

Oh, and if they create a national, official government office called “Ministry Of The Arts”–Just as they have in France…

Ahhh, oui, I digress. I rannnntttt.)

I do think that SAG’s new tact is a great turn of events. Let all the actors read over exactly what they won’t have. Let them see who the real boogeyman is. Let all see the real numbers..I mean, the real money offered. And who is not willing to spread it around, to those who they even call: “the Talent”.


Doug Allen

…Some actors may not ‘get’ how this all applies to them, at all…

And I urge you, all, to-think-as-successful-working-actors. And if you are not one, now, then think “as-if”.

(Because I know that part of this conflict has to do with all different economic levels of actors, all trying to agree on the same contractual items, and they all mean different things to different actors

Example: For an actor who has never worked, the $28 dollars that the AMPTP is offering for per-show (with no residuals for any re-play)…well, that may seem great to a young actor who has never had a paying job. Or who has spent a year, breaking their back, suffering indignities, and maybe doing “background”/extra work, so as to get their “3 jobs” so they could qualify for eligibility for a SAG card…)

To them, a real job, any job, feels like reward enough.**

It’s not.

I’ve been on both ends of the acting career spectrum.

And all in-between….Trust my words: time keeps moving. And so does your acting career, with the right amount of determination. You can get acting work, with the right amount of skill, determination, and intelligent focus. Yes, you can, and you will, then.

And…if and when you make that happen… you will want to earn a living, and even live well…you will want payment, adequate, just paymentfor your work. For your talent. As an actor.

It’s hard work.

Almost certainly, you will still love it.

And…because you will be eating, too; you will be glad you did.



Here’s recent excepts from SAG’s website:

Subject: Message from Doug Allen, SAG National Executive Director

January 14, 2009

Dear SAG National Board Members and Alternates,

Because the executive session of our recent extraordinary National Board meeting occurred without my presence in the room, I want to directly communicate several points to all board members and alternates.

I began and ended my report to the National Board on January 12 by stating that I have followed and always will follow the directives of the National Board expressed by a unanimous or majority vote. Under my leadership all SAG staff has complied and will comply with those directives as well. I also said that I am by SAG constitution and by employment contract accountable to the board for my performance.

I welcome your review of that performance and respectfully request only that, in the interest of fairness, such review include the opportunity for me to discuss with the board any comments, questions or issues you wish to raise, not in lieu of executive session discussion, but prior to such discussion.

It is unfortunate that the important matters contained in the National Board meeting ag enda were not accomplished at the meeting January 12 and 13. I know that opinions vary sharply on why that happened. From my perspective, to the extent AMPTP positions or actions are the problem, the solution cannot be determined by how intensely you fight among yourselves.

Regarding the TV/Theatrical negotiations, and the sharply divided opinions on the board about how to proceed, I offered the following suggestion to a cross section of Guild leaders during the period of the executive session. I asked that they discuss the suggestion with other board members in attendance. I proposed that the strike authorization referendum be suspended and that management’s offer be put to the membership in a ratification vote. I also proposed that, before that membership ratification vote, we meet immediately with the AMPTP to determine to what extent, if any, they are willing to improve their last offer, to maximize its chances for ratification. I further proposed that the offer then be sent to the members with Pro and Con statements from National Board members and that otherwise the Guild would remain neutral during any member debate regarding ratification. This process will give Screen Actors Guild members the opportunity to formally express themselves on the bargaining issues.

This suggestion was communicated to some, but not all board members in attendance, and apparently was rejected by some who heard it, at least in part, because they believe I could not be “trusted” to implement it. Since I am the one proposing it and since I have never acted contrary to the directives of the National Board, that is not a reasonable objection. In any case, if it is the decision of the National Board to proceed as I have proposed, I assure you that the staff and I will carry out your decision faithfully and diligently.

I will convene an Officers’ call this week to discuss this suggestion and how it might be considered and implemented. I encourage all board members to discuss these issues with the Guild officers or with me in advance of the call.

There are no more important issues before us than the conclusion of the TV/Theatrical Contract negotiations and the initiation of the Commercial Contract negotiations. Super-heated rhetoric through the press will not contribute to our success on behalf of the members. Working together to resolve your differences will.

Doug Allen

Two days before, Alan Rosenberg sent out this to the SAG board members:

Los Angeles, (January 13, 2009) — SAG National President Alan Rosenberg sent the following message to Screen Actors Guild national board members and alternates today:

“At the end of the National Board plenary meeting this afternoon, a group of board members submitted a document to the Guild that purports to deal with the employment of the National Executive Director and the continuing approach to negotiations. After analyzing the document, Screen Actors Guild’s in-house and outside counsel have concluded that the document does not constitute a valid written assent, for several reasons, including a lack of sufficient signatures and the absence of any language on the document demonstrating the intent of the signers to grant their assent to the proposal. Guild National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen and the National Television and Theatrical Contract Negotiating Committee remain committed to advancing the cause of actors and our crucial contract negotiations.”

No substantive actions were taken by the Guild’s national board, which met at SAG’s national headquarters January 12 and 13 for almost 30 hours straight.

No mailing date has been set for the previously approved TV/Theatrical strike authorization referendum.

We have no further comment.

Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents over 120,000 actors who work in film and digital television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and all other new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at

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