Monday, November 24, 2008

The Latest w/ SAG

After four months of negotiations with Hollywood studios in regards to obtaining the rights to residuals for new media, such as the internet, SAG is still at the table but calling for a strike.

According to Doug Allen, SAG national executive director and chief negotiator, if actors don't have rights to income from new media, then actors will miss out on new income opportunities and residuals. Residuals are payments to actors that are made every time a production airs, such as TV reruns.

SAG represents more than 120,000 actors in movies, television and other media. These members rely on their residual payments for more than half their incomes, and the leaders of the SAG fear that these actors are missing out on future income.

SAG wants union coverage for all Internet-only productions regardless of budget and residual payments for Internet productions replayed online, as well as continued actor protections during work stoppages. Movie and prime-time TV actors are currently working under contracts that expired at the end of June 2008. SAG is the also the only major Hollywood working without a labor deal this year.

The producers' group has already reached its sixth labor deal with local branches of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts, accounting for 35,000 workers. The producers' alliance has condemned SAG's decision to strike, especially while the country is facing such hard economic times.

SAG's national board has already authorized its negotiating committee to call for a strike authorization vote if mediation failed. The vote would take more than a month and require more than 75 percent approval to pass.