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AFTRA to SAG: No Dice

Strikewatch_blog_2 AFTRA officials tell Back Stage their union will not issue an official response to SAG's invitation to reinstate to Phase One.

But that doesn't mean AFTRA NED Kim Roberts Hedgpeth is keeping quiet. Back Stage just obtained a letter Hedgpeth sent to SAG NED Doug Allen today explaining why AFTRA won't take the bait.

For starters, she says  for AFTRA's national board to meet within 72 hours order to consider SAG's request would be "pragmatically impossible." However, AFTRA's Strategy Cabinet considered SAG's invite and came up with this:

"The Strategy Cabinet members determined that there does not appear to be any evidence that the underlying problems which forced members of the National Board to take the action they did March 29 have been, or will soon be, resolved."

Indeed, SAG's invitation didn't mention compromises on any of the issues that tore the two unions apart, such as bloc voting and basic-cable jurisdiction. SAG's brief statement could be boiled down to, "come back because...because...we said so."

In her letter, Hedgpeth infers SAG has no intention on changing their ways -- not even a promise to (allegedly) keep their hands off shows under AFTRA contracts.

"We received  multiple reports that the original motion introduced early  in Sunday's meeting inviting AFTRA to Phase One' included a commitment which would preclude SAG from engaging in raiding activity and/or representing units that decertified...that motion was, in fact, voted down at your Board meeting." According to Hedgpeth, the motion that did pass "was a last-minute motion introduced shortly before the end of the SAG Board meeting and passed with virtually no discussion."

However, a guild insider tells me SAG's board already passed a resolution on March 29 to abide by the AFL-CIO's rules against "raiding" another union's turf. That resolution was apparently hand-delivered to AFTRA's board members, who were probably in the midst of voting to nix Phase One. If that's true, surely there wouldn't be a need to pass the same resolution again on Saturday.

Resolution or no resolution, it sounds like that's it for Phase One. Let's hope SAG's negotiators get a a good eight hours of sleep tonight. It's gonna be a bumpy week.

--Lauren Horwitch

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