Actors, this is a starter post about the issues of SAG-AFTRA Merger Vote, at the primary, and simplified level. You will not have enough knowledge, after you are done reading this first post, even if it seems like enough to decide your vote.
Particularly, being fully informed for this SAG-ACTOR merger referendum, uniquely requires more facts, research, debate; than the general info as provided by SAG. Much more than what is provided as the issues and purposes that I am putting in this simplified, first level, explanation. It’s been stated about this Merger vote that “The devil is in the details.” Whether that’s true or not, needs to be decided by you, only after you learn what the details, that might prove this whole thing a bad idea. (If only, at least for now, as many SAG actors have decided.) It’s the additional info, besides what seems to be in the presentation, which may convince you to flip your vote from that which you originally intended.
In addition, if this referendum passes, it will be changing the acting profession in America, forever. In more ways, and in very different ways. Right now, there’s a lot of speculation about what will be, and there’s a lot too much filling in the blanks however anyone wishes, some actors worry. No matter what turns out to be what: There is no turning back.
Take your time. There is some bulldozing and false-pushing going on out there, and the truer version of that is that you DO have time to decide, and I strongly suggest you take all the time you can. There’s also no (actual) hurry; not in casting your vote, and not in merging.
You have until the deadline to vote, it gives you some time. Me too, because I will be unfolding the real deeper issues, until the deadline. The stuff that you may want to understand, before you vote…because if you don’t know all you need to, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up seriously regretting your vote, for the rest of your life.
All actors that are voting are not only voting for themselves. The tally will affect every professional actor in the U.S.
This all is a little freaky. Here in LA, everyone, including myself; has actor friends who stand staunchly and passionately on one side, and other friends who hang tough, on the opposite side. I have one side that I have favored strongly, since 2008; but admittedly, I have been swayed off my soapbox once or twice. It’s not unusual to flip around some. It’s not as it appears: it’s not like the beautiful Land of Oz and the hope of the magnificent Wizard and “what the Wizard will do”, but overall, the whole deal is presented as such, by the Vote-Yes folks. It’s not exactly the “little man behind the curtain”, but there is some serious s**t that closely resembles that scene in the same classic Oz movie. The SAG-AFTRA merger vote is way more complex, and is not based on what is readily available to read.
So please remember: it’s not based on only this simple explanation of the basics. You need to know a good deal more before voting, which I will cover here in the next few days. You don’t need to understand every little legal detail, financial assessment, union rules, or what the angry vitriol is about. But, you do need to have, in the least, a medium-level understanding of, especially, that which isn’t touted in a publicist’s press release.
You need to know that this campaign is run by publicists and a lot of ‘spin’, so all actors need to have a basic information of what the facts really are, behind the spin. What you are actually voting for, and what are the actual issues, inside those that reach the public,the press, and even the members. First. …Before deciding on how to vote on the SAG-AFTRA merger.
Let’s start talking here, at Hollywood Actor Prep, in a more serious way than we have so far, about the SAG-AFTRA merger facts.
MERGING THE ACTOR UNIONS :: BASIC, SIMPLIFIED ARGUMENTS
Note: Those who wanted the referendum and composed it, are the Vote-Yes side. Thus, the Vote-No side basically make rebuttals only, if they have them. I hope I give a respectful and accurate summary of the views of both sides, below.
What is this referendum within SAG all about? Overall, it’s a call by those actors, and the leaders that they voted in who represent this Yes side; who want to merge two actors unions (guilds) into one.
Merging. Plain, simple. Combining one professional actors union called SAG (Screen Actors Guild), with another similar, but not the same, actors union called AFTRA.
What do the Vote Yes actors claim is the reasoning for them wanting this, for calling a vote on this big, historical change; from the membership of SAG?
REASON 1- Alleges a Vote-Yes is imperative for actor survival, with immediate urgency.
Reasoning Point 1- from The YES-on-SAG-AFTRA:
We must do it, and we must do it now.*
Reasoning Counterpoint 1- from NO-on-SAG-AFTRA-merger-vote say :
Let’s see if it’s something we should do, by doing all the necessary prep. We need to assess, in terms of money, in real money language and figures, if it’s good or bad.
As I’ve already shared here, one of the problems with understanding all the information is that there really isn’t a point-counterpoint in specific simple argument form, but this is pretty accurate.
There are some SAG loyalists who are staunchly against a merger. There are also some actors who can vote and have cast their vote because they know nothing, and don’t care. I am dealing with the central issues here, today, by major point and counterpoint.
Reasoning Point 2, as made by Vote Yes On Merger Side:
A Presumed, Bigger Actor Group That May Bring Better Results, When Bargaining.
This has two different sub-items: A and B.
A. The YES-on-SAG-AFTRA-merger-vote people claim that the other side of the negotiating table has gotten more powerful than ever before, and we are not on the actors’ side.
The Yes Side infers that if we merge it will make us a larger numbered group.
That the ‘opposing side’ is no longer, as they explain; just producers anymore; or small and large production companies anymore. Not film studios, not anymore. That all of what used to be sitting on the other side of the table is no longer from ‘The Industry’, that they are ‘big conglomerates’ that own all kinds of companies. That they are now only a few, large, global corporations; some foreign.
They claim that these conglomerates are, suddenly, more powerful and less agreeable. than the various types of film studios and levels of producers, that the negotiating agency, called the AMPTP, used to represent.
They infer that changes in the corporation size of the companies that own film studios and that fund movies, and television shows; won’t show the same willingness to truly negotiate at the general contract bargaining table, as they did before the corporations combined with other corporations, or in the presentation of the YES side, were snatched up. And will eat us up too, because we aren’t a large number of in one union. That actors don’t have a chance of getting any fair deal, unless the unions are combined.
That if we combine our unions into one larger union, then we actors will be regarded as a daunting force, an equal; to these looming conglomerates who are bad-intentioned.
A. Counterpoint from the The NO-on-SAG-AFTRA-merger-vote about combining the numbers of actors to make one union, and that the larger group of actors, in numbers, will create an equal force against these huge conglomerates, and the AMPTP who represents them across the bargaining table, for our contracts?
The Vote NO side doesn’t directly counterpoint this, and I think it’s because the NO side is led by those who have longterm experience with numerous contract re-negotiations between SAG and the AMPTP, over the years.
Some SAG actors that are the most vocal against this merger vote, have served on SAG boards for decades, and have been actually the ones that are involved, inside SAG, with contract negotiations. They have dealt with the AMPTP in the past.
They know how tough the AMPTP can be.
Many of those in the videos, etc, from the Vote NO side (on merger) were officers on SAG’s board, especially during 2007-2008, and supported the stand-off between SAG and the AMPTP; SAG’s leadership, at that time, refused to sign the General Contract that the AMPTP offered. Because it was lesser than what we had before. And the people that the AMPTP represented stated publicly, that they wanted to get rid of residuals.
(Residuals, if you don’t know already, are a pittance of money paid everytime a show that an actor has worked in, gets rebroadcast. The networks earn money from it, and the actors get duly paid a fraction of what they got for the original performance, for their performance as shown again. In a nutshell.)
This is overview is very difficult to simplify. I am not going to publish any blaring inaccuracies, nor biased ones, if I can help it… I do wish, in the vein of truth, to present the facts and not the spin, however. And, there is greater, stinky, spin than anything that has been promoted; spinning far and above any actor referendum prior. A nearly unbelievable amount. An amount that nearly reveals itself, outright, as corrupt; which is really hard to believe. Especially from who is putting it out, a trusted guild.
As a result of this possible corruption, and onslaught of intentional propaganda, and deliberate exclusion of finite information, facts; there is an even greater polarization and splintering of factions, within the actor memberships, of both SAG and AFTRA. Within either one and within both guilds.
Complicating an already complicated issue, even more.
CONTINUE ON TO THE SECOND PART OF THE ACTOR POWER PROMISE…
Part 2B of the Vote Yes On Merger, as I named it above (which is all about a more powerful actor group) …gets much more complicated to explain and to show both sides. It’s also where the conflict becomes a war of sides. Please go to my next post on this where I will continue this particular part of the Simplified Overview, and where I will finish the general, simplified overview.
WHAT ELSE IS UPCOMING HERE?
After that, I’ll get into the pertaining specifics, group by grouping, in separate posts. I will present the basis as to why the side that says NO-To-Merger-now-at-this-vote, is so strongly against this actor union combining now.
I’ll show you how and why the Vote-Yes side has created such a dazzling campaign. Why some actors publicly claim to be for it, and why many of those actors are for it but not revealing what is really driving them to publicly ask for other actors vote.
I’ll show you in the next posts, the points are made that appear, to some actors, to be intentionally deceptive; and why they may be, for the underlying reasons that no one is publicly saying; and the personal gain that many involved will get, if this referendum passes. (Whether or not that is their underlying reason or not, the personal gains will occur. All voters should be aware of such.)
All those actors who are on the side of Vote-NO-on-merger are not against SAG and AFTRA merging altogether. Most actually only want it to be thoroughly investigated, first.
These are all points to consider and to know before voting. Please read on. And come back. I’m going to try to get to it all, and in the clearest way possible. Even if I have to go back and edit, as I did today.
(2nd Draft with parts edited out, added, some rewrite : Saturday March 17, 2012)
I am writing this as you read it now.
First rough draft published: 3:27 PM March 15, 2012.