SAG Strike?

December 15, 2008

After the SAG authorized a strike, A-List actors George Clooney, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks and others are pleading for peers to vote no. Read the rest of the story and see photos and video below.

George Clooney Matt Damon

George Clooney and Matt Damon – No to SAG Strike

In a letter sent to SAG leaders, 130 actors urged that members of the Screen Actors Guild vote no on the authorized strike. Among the 130 members are George Clooney, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Jason Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Billy Crystal, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Irons, Helen Hunt, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Kevin Spacey and Charlize Theron, along with former SAG presidents Patty Duke, Melissa Gilbert and William Schallert.

The letter, which contests the idea that a strike would give SAG members added bargaining chips at the negotiation table, points to the lagging economy as a reason to vote no on the strike ballot. New York board member Paul Christie said:

“They [SAG members] already realize how hard they’ve been hit financially, and the idea that we’d be asking them to go out on strike, and the idea that they’d be asking the IATSE guys, the craft services people, AFTRA guys and everybody else to go on strike at this point, we think, is just insane. I haven’t run into one person here who’s in favor of doing it.”

As with the recent writers’ strike, a SAG strike would impact all those working below the line, many of whom lost their jobs when the writers negotiations stalled. The opponents to the strike state that, given the dire economic times the country is currently facing, they cannot authorize for more people to be out of work.

The letter is up against the decision to send out ballots on January 2 to all SAG members asking them whether or not a strike should be authorized. This decision has the backing of 31 high-profile members, including Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter and Martin Sheen along with national board members Justine Bateman, Elliott Gould, Diane Ladd and Kent McCord. A vote for the authorization of a strike does not necessarily mean a strike will follow. Rather, it gives negotiators the ability to threaten a strike while at the bargaining table. The letter opposing this authorization points out that once a strike is authorized, the members will have to follow-through with it, so it is more than just a bargaining chip.

The SAG is just one of several actors unions, and many SAG members have called for a unification of the various organizations. The opposition letter pointed out that the other unions that have already settled their contracts are largely unhappy with how they turned out:

“None of our friends in the other unions are truly happy with the deals they made in their negotiations. Three years from now all the union contracts will be up again at roughly the same time. At that point if we plan and work together with our sister unions we will have incredible leverage.”

In order for a strike to be authorized, 75% of voting members must approve it. Ballots are being sent out January 2, and must be returned before the month is over. The timetable allows for the February Golden Globe Awards to be safe from a disaster like last year, but casts doubts over the Academy Awards being able to continue as planned. Guess we’ll see where all this goes.

Check out the video below for a list of the items everyone is fighting over.

More photos of actors involved and a video of SAG strike facts are below.

Charlize Theron 1Diane LaneHelen HuntSally FieldSteve CarellTom Hanks
No SAG Strike Actors Photos

SAG Strike – The Facts Video

Photos: WENN

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