Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Article on the Possible SAG Strike, in CounterPunch

Capitulation in Hollywood

SAG Watches It All Slip Away


While American labor unions are having their usual rough time of it (not to mention the additional burden of having weathered eight brutal years of Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is facing not only potential defeat in the form of getting jammed with an inferior contract, but stands to be dealt a bitter humiliation. And the entity applying that humiliation isn’t its long-time adversary, the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers). It’s SAG’s own membership.

Typically (and understandably), a union membership wants it all. That’s the standard dynamic. The members want a first-rate union contract, with all the goodies; but, because of the dangers involved, they want it to come all neatly wrapped up, without any risks. There’s a baseball analogy. The manager goes out to the mound and glibly instructs the pitcher on how to pitch to a dangerous batter: “Don’t walk him, but don’t give him anything to hit.”

What SAG’s rank-and-file wants from its leadership is much the same thing. Bring us back a good contract, a substantial contract, an improved contract, but don’t ask us to join you in a battle or otherwise sacrifice anything important to get it. Above all, don’t ask us to get tough.

Click here to see the full article