SAG Pushes Vs. Movie Studios Again

I can't believe this Hollywood labor strife is still dragging on.

Thursday night the Screen Actors Guild board again rejected the movie studios' final offer. They voted to tell the negotiating committee to reject the deal the AMPTP (the producers association) offered in June 30, which is very similar to what they settled on with the DGA, WGA and AFTRA. The board also voted for something else: to send postcards to the 120,000 SAG members to poll them on their final offer.

This isn't a vote to ratify a strike -- in fact, based on the votes of AFTRA members (who to a large extent overlap with SAG) to ratify their deal, SAG wouldn't be able to ratify a strike.

So the fact that SAG doesn't have the ammunition to threaten a strike means they don't have as much leverage as they would otherwise, and actors are continuing to work under their old contracts. And starting after Labor Day, the studios will really get back to work; no longer able to be held up by this threat.

So what's next? SAG has a board election, the results of which will be announced on September 18. A group called "Unite For Strength" is trying to oust the incumbents, a group called "Membership First."

The new "Strength" group is focused on the fact that by splitting off from AFTRA the current leadership caused all sorts of problems. But actor/activist Martin Sheen jumped into the discussion Thursday, saying that the "strength" group would limit which SAG members could vote based on how much they're working, saying this would institute a "class system" based on actors earnings.

The battle continues -- but in September, Hollywood will try to move past it, getting back to work.

Questions? Comments?