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SAG Wants AFTRA Deal Dead; Legal Battle Looms

Here we go again! This could killed the Fall TV season (again!) :(





LOS ANGELES -- The president of the Screen Actors Guild has encouraged a vote against a proposed contract deal between a smaller union and Hollywood studios.

The move came as SAG tries to reach its own deal with producers.

The guild has asked the American Federation of Television and Radio Performers to delay a membership vote on its proposed agreement with studios, but AFTRA has refused.

SAG President Alan Rosenberg said at a union rally Monday it's essential to vote down the AFTRA deal.

SAG said a delay would help it negotiate a better agreement.

About 44,000 actors belong to both unions.

The move prompted AFTRA to warn that it might pursue legal remedies if SAG tried to "undermine or interfere with our ratification process." AFTRA members are set to vote on the new contract later this month.

Six negotiating sessions have been held between representatives of the SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers since bargaining resumed May 28 in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the 100-day Writers Guild of America strike which crippled production.

SAG and the AMPTP met 18 times from April 15 through May 6 without reaching an agreement.

The Screen Actors Guild held a two-hour "Solidarity Rally" in support of its negotiation team Monday morning at its headquarters on the Miracle Mile.

According to a letter from Rosenberg to members posted on the guild's Web site, the main outstanding issues include increasing compensation for "middle class actors"; continuing to give actors the right to consent to the use of clips; the guild's desire to have jurisdiction over all new-media projects; and paying residuals for new-media productions, such as those intended to be distributed via the Internet or cellular telephones.

"Our negotiating committee is working very hard in an effort to secure a fair contract for SAG members for television programs, motion pictures and new media formats," Rosenberg wrote.

When it announced on May 28 an agreement with the AFTRA, the smaller of the two performers' unions, the alliance issued a statement, expressing its hope to reach an agreement with SAG "that will prevent another harmful and unnecessary strike."

AFTRA has about 70,000 members, including actors, singers, announcers and journalists. The Screen Actors Guild has about 120,000 members in movies, TV and other media.


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