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Archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SAG strike vote to move ahead

January 14, 2009

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— The Screen Actors Guild is going to press on with plans for a strike authorization vote, but needs to reassess when to send out ballots after the end of a contentious 30-hour meeting, its president said Tuesday.

A date for the ballots to be mailed out was undecided after a two-day meeting at which upset board members attempted but failed to fire lead negotiator Doug Allen, SAG’s national executive director, who supports a strike vote.

“We’ve got to regroup a bit,” said president Alan Rosenberg said after the meeting ended Tuesday afternoon. “I’m thrilled that Doug is still our lead negotiator. If I were more rested I’d be even happier.”

No vote was taken on a motion that would have removed Allen, a former NFL Players Association executive, because it lacked sufficient signatures and other technical reasons, according to the guild. Allen has a year left in his three-year contract.

Anne-Marie Johnson, a board member and member of the Membership First faction of the guild that backs Allen and the strike vote, said members of her group peppered opponents in the guild with questions about their motion to fire Allen.

“It was flawed enough where debate was so extended, we never got to an official vote,” Johnson said.

The 120,000-member guild had planned to send out strike authorization ballots by as early as today, but an exhausted-looking Rosenberg suggested it would not happen that quickly. Last year, a 100-day strike by writers reduced the Golden Globe Awards to a news conference, but a deal was reached quickly enough to save the Academy Awards.

This year, the Globes went off without a hitch and Rosenberg suggested that even the Oscars, set for Feb. 22, might make it by unscathed by a potential actors’ boycott.

“The Golden Globes and the Oscars have never been our priority,” Rosenberg said. “Getting (strike authorization) is the priority.”

A strike vote requires 75 percent support from voting members to succeed. If it is approved, the SAG national board can call a strike.

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