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The Day After the Day After

Strikewatch_blog UPDATE: Sam Freed, president of the New York board and SAG's 2nd national vice president, responds to the letter from Doug Allen.

Hi, and welcome back to Strike Watch. Miss us? Me neither.

We spent yesterday catching up on other work--editing articles for our Welcome to New York issue (on newsstands Feb. 5) attending a meeting, and trying to ease up on the Advil. Really, we wish we could cover unions 24/7, but sometimes we have to tend to news about actors actually acting.

Herewith a round-up of some things worth noting.

Dave McNary has a piece today saying the moderates will vow to fight on (of course). More interesting stuff comes at the bottom: Doug Allen sent a  message to members late last night saying that the strike-authorization vote should be put on hold and the studios' final offer sent to members.

Here is a portion of the letter, which we found on Arlin Miller's blog.

"Regarding the TV/Theatrical negotiations, and the sharply divided opinions on the board about how to proceed, I offered the following suggestion to a cross section of Guild leaders during the period of the executive session. I asked that they discuss the suggestion with other board members in attendance. I proposed that the strike authorization referendum be suspended and that management’s offer be put to the membership in a ratification vote. I also proposed that, before that membership ratification vote, we meet immediately with the AMPTP to determine to what extent, if any, they are willing to improve their last offer, to maximize its chances for ratification.

"I further proposed that the offer then be sent to the members with Pro and Con statements from National Board members and that otherwise the Guild would remain neutral during any member debate regarding ratification. This process will give Screen Actors Guild members the opportunity to formally express themselves on the bargaining issues."

"This suggestion was communicated to some, but not all board members in attendance, and apparently was rejected by some who heard it, at least in part, because they believe I could not be “trusted” to implement it. Since I am the one proposing it and since I have never acted contrary to the directives of the National Board, that is not a reasonable objection. In any case, if it is the decision of the National Board to proceed as I have proposed, I assure you that the staff and I will carry out your decision faithfully and diligently.

"I will convene an Officers’ call this week to discuss this suggestion and how it might be considered and implemented. I encourage all board members to discuss these issues with the Guild officers or with me in advance of the call."

Sam Freed responds: “At the recent plenary, a clear majority of the SAG Board presented an opportunity to resolve the TV/Theatrical negotiations and to move the guild in a much needed new direction. That effort was met with overt obstructionist actions led by President Rosenberg. It is irresponsible and cynical at best to suggest that the Guild could send out a contract referendum to the members with a neutral recommendation. The Guild, under the direction of Doug Allen, has spent the last eight months and hundreds of thousands of dollars of member's money, criticizing the contract in an effort to manipulate the membership.”

Here's the AP story.

Also, in case you missed it yesterday, Stephen Diamond's Vallywood blog. Waiting to hear from national president Alan Rosenberg and Membership First on this issue, as well as comments on the allegations of voting irregularities during the national board meeting.

Last, we have a piece today on six rank-and-file members--three from New York and three from L.A.--and their takes on the issues at hand.

--Andrew Salomon

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