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SAG to Rally in 'Solidarity', AFTRA Says it Could be 'Illegal'
UPDATE: About 500 people showed for the rally. See photos here.
This morning, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will hold a "solidarity" rally at their Wilshire Blvd. Headquarters, a move the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) is calling decisive and possibly illegal. "It’s disingenuous of SAG to call it a ‘solidarity’ rally when it’s clear that it will be an anti-AFTRA rally,” said AFTRA President Roberta Reardon. The Writers Guild of America held a 100-day strike over contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, mostly over how to handle new media royalties, that ended earlier this year (at the cost of over $2 billion and 38,000 lost jobs). Now both actor unions are dealing with contracts renewals with the AMPTP, which expire June 30. On May 28, AFTRA reached a tentative agreement with AMPTP and last week, SAG sent a letter urging AFTRA to wait so that they could complete their own negotiations. However, on Friday, AFTRA's national board voted to send members the contract for ratification.
"If AFTRA wants its lousy deal with the AMPTP, then let its members either ratify it or vote it down. And believe me, it's a really lousy deal," opined Nikki Finke at the LA Weekly blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, on Friday.
In a letter to guild members, SAG President Alan Rosenberg saidnot all priorities for actors are met in the AFTRA deal.
AFTRA says today's rally is meant to interfere with actors that are members of both unions, a total of 44,000 actors. "Such unprecedented interference in the internal affairs of another union is the antithesis of good unionism," a response from AFTRA to SAG stated. "We hope it will not be necessary to pursue legal remedies, but be aware that we would view any attempt by SAG or its leadership to undermine or interfere with our ratification process as a violation of both the law and the AFL-CIO constitution."
"This thing is a mess," said Mark Lacter of LA Biz Observed while noting that all of this "minimizes the prospect of a strike." To that end, we'll see.
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