SAG rift might avert strike Posted December 15, 2008
The Screen Actors Guild is suffering an internal rift that might avert a costly actors' strike. The union's New York board publicly came out against striking, causing the union to call an emergency national meeting. The union will vote on whether to strike over demands for greater profits for actors from new media distribution of their work.
The prospect of a strike has highlighted differences within the SAG union and the entertainment industry as a whole. Many actors think that during a recession is not the right time to stage a strike that would halt the production of movies and many TV shows.
Many actors have spoken out against a strike include Danny DeVito (Taxi), Rhea Perlman (Cheers), Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H), and former SAG president Richard Masur.
The alternative actors' union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has already accepted a new contract for its members. The producers' union, Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, is understandably against the strike and is appealing to actors to vote against the strike.
With so much public opposition to a strike, along with many who oppose it privately, it could be that the SAG would lose the vote on the strike, but it is cautioned that the SAG would not be pushing for a vote if it did not believe it would win it.
The strike would deal a swift blow to the entertainment industry that suffered a lengthy and costly strike last year, the estimated cost of the 3 month strike is put as high as $2.5 billion. The Writers' Strike damaged many TV shows by pulling them off air for months, the Strike was blamed for the death of many shows such as Bionic Woman or Pushing Daisies.
Any strike would be devastating for the economy of California, already suffering because of the general economic climate.
The SAG will send out ballots on January 2nd, votes will be counted by January 23rd.
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