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It's Tuesday. Let's Talk About SAG.

Strikewatch_blog   Jay A. Fernandez at sister publication THR posits today that outside mediation may be required to settle the SAG-AMPTP situation.

This is something I had Sunday night, when I wrote, "The [anonymous] board member said the guild would probably lay low for the next week or two and allow surrogates in the industry ... to get the hard-liners at the AMPTP to change their mind."

Fernandez advances the story when he writes, "The back-channel diplomacy tactic, however, implies a split in the conglom community over the wisdom of pushing a hard line on the end date. Those who rely more heavily on feature product could be persuaded to push a more generous offer back across the table, since feature production is slowly grinding to a stop. Should any of these circumstances persuade the studios to revert to the June 30, 2011, expiration date, approval by the SAG board would be all but assured."

However, Membership First will have a lot to say about any contract that goes out to members. They have more than the required 25 percent necessary to issue a minority report with the proposal, and a board member told me Sunday, "This contract has to have jurisdiction and residuals in new media. If they are not included, we will work hard to educate the members why they shouldn't endorse any contract that contributes to the erosion of residuals."

The so-called hard-line faction did what it took to prevent merger in 1998 and 2003, so anything's possible.

BTW: We hear one reason that strike authorization wasn't approved Saturday was because SAG mayANDRE have to send out strike authorization to get movement on the commercials contract, and officials didn't want to inundate the members twice. A Membership First board member said the rank and file would approve both measures, if they saw the board was united--which is kind of like saying I could have played point guard for the 76ers if I were 6-foot-4.

--Andrew Salomon

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