That sound you just heard was a bunch of fingers crossing and teeth clenching coming from the general direction of Hollywood. That other sound you just heard was all of those same people saying simply, "Oh, shit." The Screen Actors Guild announced on Wednesday that it had set January 2nd as the date to send out its strike authorization ballots to its 120,000 members. The result of the vote will be announced on January 23rd, and if 75% of SAG members vote yes, then Hollywood could face its second major work stoppage in just over a year.
SAG President, actor Alan Rosenberg has said that a yes vote will force the studios back to the negotiating table, though the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers -- the AMPTP -- who represents the studios and other independent producers, has said that they will not change their final offer, which they made to SAG last June. The two groups have been at a stalemate ever since, though they've met more than 46 times between April and November, and even had a federal mediator brought in to try to help. Said Rosenberg, "SAG members understand that their futures as professional actors are at stake, and I believe that SAG members will evaluate the AMPTP's June 30 offer, and vote to send us back to the table with the threat of a strike. A yes vote sends a strong message that we are serious about fending off rollbacks and getting what is fair for actors in new media." To which the AMPTP responded: "It's now official: SAG members are going to be asked to bail out a failed negotiating strategy by going on strike during one of the worst economic crises in history. We hope that working actors will study our contract offer carefully and come to the conclusion that no strike can solve the problems that have been created by SAG's own failed negotiation strategy."
Way to go, guys -- most of us learned in 4th grade that the bullheaded "You Suck! No, YOU Suck!" strategy rarely leads to a favorable outcome for all involved. I'm thinking I'm not the only one asking for the same thing for Christma-Hana-Quanzica: A favorable contract for all involved. And a pony.