SAG and studios firing accusations at each other


AMPTP bought a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times for a letter, signed by major studio CEOs, taking the Screen Actors Guild to task for demanding better terms than other unions and threatening to strike. SAG fired back that the CEOs should come to the bargaining table instead of buying ads and vowed that it will not be bound by what other unions agreed to.

The open letter in the LA Times was signed by Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO, the Fox Group; Brad Grey, Chairman & CEO, Paramount Pictures Corp.; Robert A. Iger, President & CEO, The Walt Disney Company; Michael Lynton, Chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Barry M. Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros.; Leslie Moonves, President & CEO, CBS Corp.; Harry Sloan, Chairman & CEO, MGM; and Jeff Zucker, President & CEO, NBC Universal, whose companies make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). It charged that to accept the demands made by SAG “would be to repudiate the hard work and compromises made by every other labor organization in the industry over the past ten months.”

The AMPTP members insisted that they will stand firm on their final offer to the actors union. “We have made SAG members a fair offer, the same deal we have successfully offered to all the other Guilds and Unions, and we kept that offer on the table for now despite the rapid worldwide economic decline,” the letter said.

“We are still waiting for the CEO’s or their AMPTP negotiators to make a good faith effort at bargaining with us. Agreements with other guilds and unions can’t dictate actors’ terms just because they are part of a pattern set by the DGA [Directors Guild of America].  Actors issues are different and must be heard and addressed,” SAG said in response. It added that it is not bound by what other unions negotiated any more than ABC can negotiate license fees for NBC. “No one has our proxy,” SAG declared.

RBR/TVBR observation: True. No one but SAG has the right to bargain for SAG. But the leaders of SAG seem to be living in a time warp where they have yet to receive word of the economic collapse that has hit this nation in recent months. It is amazing to us that the studios are still willing to give SAG the same terms that the other unions negotiated in better times. And it amazes us that the SAG leadership is too bull-headed to jump on that offer before it goes away.