Strike Two! Screen Actors Guild Gets Ready to Walk

Perhaps the intoxicating knowledge that they're working in a fairly recession-proof industry has gone to the heads of those actors at the top of the Screen Actors Guild hierarchy. It's the only thing that could explain why now, when the economy has reached the "crisis" stage and is in the proverbial crapper, would SAG decide to put a strike authorization to vote. Yes, now. Awesome idea, guys!

Last week, SAG finally sat back down with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers for some more negotiating for a new TV/theatrical contract -- this time with the help of a government mediator. But SAG walked out in a huff (or so I imagine -- they're actors, they're probably super dramatic!) shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, dissatisfied enough with the talks that they're now in the preparatory stages of putting a strike authorization to vote. Before the meeting last week, the two sides had not met with each other since mid-July. Commented the representative from SAG: "We don't suspend bargaining in tough economic times. Now more than ever, actors need a fair contract to help the struggling middle class make a living in the future, including a future working in new media." Which... I don't disagree with -- and I'd like to put it out there that normally I'm a Norma Rae, "YAY UNIONS!" kind of gal -- but where the AMPTP and I both get caught up is where SAG seems hell-bent on trying to get a slightly better deal than the ones the Director's Guild, Writer's Guild and AFTRA all got earlier this year. I mean, didn't the Writers kind of learn that lesson the hard way? Surely the actors were paying attention.

That said, even if the actors do authorize a strike -- and they'd need a 75% yes vote from their members to do it -- it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll strike right away, if at all. The AMPTP snottily disagrees, saying "Make no mistake about this: If SAG members authorize a strike, then a strike is all but guaranteed because SAG has shown no willingness to compromise on its unrealistic demands." But maybe the vote is just a play to get the AMPTP to play ball. Either way, now does not really seem to be the time for game-playing shenanigans. Thanks for making things interesting, jerks!




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