It's been months since the Screen Actors Guild's talks with the AMPTP seemed to fizzle. The issue of renegotiating the actors labor contract seems to have faded from the forefront, since Labor Day the studios have gone back to work, with actors working under the terms of their old contract.
But believe it or not, SAG's negotiating committee is urging its national board to take a strike authorization vote of its membership. The newly elected national board will meet Oct 18. The negotiating committee wants the membership to vote yes to authorize a strike to "overcome the employers' intransigence." They figure giving the bargaining team the authority to call a strike is "necessary" at this point. If they get a strike authorization they certainly have serious negotiating power. If the membership votes "no" they'll be in a much weaker position.
As I watch the markets tumble and I hear talk not just of recession, but of depression, I have to wonder whether there's any chance 75 percent of SAG members would vote to strike, which is what it takes to get authorization.
Media stocks are falling again today on Wall Street, which does put the likes of Viacom, Disney, CBS and News Corp in a tough spot. But members of SAG, who may be worried about the credit crunch affecting their house mortgages or day jobs, may be worried more about keeping their jobs right now than improving their DVD residual payments.
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