Writers strike over, Actors next?
Could the Screen Actors be the next Guild to go on strike following the Writers? Well I doubt it but big name actors such as George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have been concerned enough to issue a full page press advert urging the Screen Actors Guild to go to early negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.
As the Directors Guild did, they want to enter into early negotiations and have the new contracts negotiated and signed before the renewal date arrives and a strike is called.
Coupled with those adverts from the actors, the AMPTP announced that it was ready to negotiate, however SAG responded saying that they would have to wait. For some this is getting very close to the wire as the contract between the two groups ends on June 30th.
Doug Allen, the National Exec Director of SAG, said through Variety that they were currently holding meetings with their members to gather the bargaining proposals from the grassroots. Now to me that sounds like a long, long process.
“We are not going to disregard our 34-year history of identifying the wishes and will of our members by subverting the W&W process...Wages and working conditions meetings are being held now and will likely conclude in March.”
Then there's three months in which to negotiate, now that doesn't seem so bad to me, so why the additional pressure from the high level actors? The ones who have so much banked that they could probably strike for the rest of their lives.
Meanwhile the Writers Guild has openly written to SAG and given their full support to them, after the Guild helped them so much during their strike period.
While the high profile actors above said that they were “strike weary”, Yale Summers, the Hollywood representative of the SAG board said:
“When our most successful performers, who don't really need their union any more, rise up to say publicly that they want us to 'settle' quickly because they are strike-weary, they are deserting the actors they used to be as well as deserting those who may one day achieve a similar star status...For those of you at the top, those for whom your union does not need to negotiate, to cry out to the press rather than coming to your union to air your concerns is disgraceful!”
Scott Wilson, another Hollywood board member, spoke out against the big name actors:
“It saddens me to think that, if what we read is true, some of our highest profile members may have forgotten where they came from and abandoned their roots...They take positions on issues that no longer affect them but have a devastating impact on rank-and-file members and, dare I say, they are ill informed on the issues.”
There's no sign that this is going to come to an easy resolution as with the Directors Guild and the AMPTP, in fact everything is pointing at this being a difficult period, particularly with the high profile actors speaking out against their union so publicly.