Teamsters, studios fail to break stalemate

Digital Media Law

The union meets in Burbank early Sunday morning, where the leadership is expected to seek – and obtain – a strike authorization vote from members. That authorization would, in turn, allow union leaders to call a strike at any time after the July 31 expiration of their contract with the studios and producers. Tags: Teamsters strike Labor Unions

Rosenberg v. SAG Lawsuit Reply Brief Filed

Digital Media Law

SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other Membership First hardliners (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) filed their reply brief earlier this week. Members' dues money at work, thanks to MembershipFirst. ——————— Subscribe to my blog ( jhandel.com ) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Tags: Labor Unions Membership First SAG The appeal grinds on.

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Trending Sources

Basic Cable Clarification & Details

Digital Media Law

The AMPTP will be present, and the sessions will be at AMPTP headquarters, but the discussions are technically with “authorizers,” which appears to mean some of the AMPTP members plus other companies. The caveat was that AFTRA would want to be sure that coordinated bargaining would increase the likelihood of members actually working. That comment points out a difference in philosophy between the two unions, at least to date.

Silly Lawsuit Against SAG Dismissed; and More

Digital Media Law

Remember the lawsuit that former SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other Membership First members (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) filed against their own union? None of the other guild/union books do, and the WGA has even moved away from the small format books to a large size that’s more manageable. It turns out even unions sometimes have unions.

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SAG: Opposition Grows to Strike Authorization

Digital Media Law

A Hollywood-based SAG member, Keri Tombazian, launched a website called [link] , as a hub for materials opposing a strike authorization. Also today, members of the NY SAG Board began what Back Stage’s blog describes as a “regional uprising,” releasing a letter opposing a strike authorization. UPDATE: SAG announced a "solidarity campaign" in which members can electronically sign a statement of support for a strike authorization.

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Little-Noticed Music Deal

Digital Media Law

Everyone listens to music, but musicians unions may not attract the same attention. Turns out their union, the American Federation of Musicians, made a deal three weeks ago with the studios — but it appears (correct me if I’m mistaken) that no one reported it (though the LA Times did mention that the deal was in negotiation). A ratification package is going out to members shortly, or already has. Tags: Labor Unions AFMA

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Hollywood Crew Deal Ratified

Digital Media Law

As expected, the membership of IATSE , the union representing Hollywood crew members, ratified that organization’s proposed contract with the studios yesterday, although not without significant opposition. The new contract takes effect August 1 and runs for three years, as is usual with Hollywood labor agreements. The deal had been opposed by some members, who cited rollbacks in the healthcare plan, as well as concerns regarding new media.

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SAG NY Furious

Digital Media Law

SAG leaders came under heavy fire at a New York membership meeting today attended by a standing-room only crowd of about 400 members. Members demanded that guild National Executive Director Doug Allen be fired, that President Alan Rosenberg resign, and, over and over, that the negotiating committee be replaced. Virtually all of the audience members who spoke were against the strike authorization. Twice, members called for merger with AFTRA.

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SAG National Executive Director Firing – How it Went Down

Digital Media Law

The SAG board’s moderate majority fired National Executive Director Doug Allen today by using a document signed by board members and called a “written assent.” Monday morning, a group of board members went to SAG’s LA headquarters. The group included Unite for Strength leader Ned Vaughn, NY board member Sam Freed, board members Ken Howard, Pamela Reed, Stacey Travis, Gabrielle Carteris and two others whose names I don’t know.

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SAG President’s Anti-SAG Suit Continues

Digital Media Law

For those who like keeping up with legal dockets, SAG a few days ago filed its Respondent’s Brief in the appeals court case that stems from the lawsuit filed by SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other Membership First hardliners (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) against their own union. Tags: Labor Unions Membership First SAG

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SAG Lawsuit Still Grinds On; Court Denies SAG’s Motion to Dismiss Appeal

Digital Media Law

As I previously reported , SAG’s counsel in late May filed a motion to dismiss the appeal by SAG president Alan Rosenberg and three other Membership First hardliners (1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord) of a Superior Court order that denied their application for a temporary restraining order. All of this sounds like a campaign issue that Unite for Strength will probably raise—why reelect a president who persists in suing his own union?

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Rosenberg v. SAG: Court of Appeal Implies Appeal May be Moot

Digital Media Law

Alan Rosenberg is no longer president of SAG, nor even a national board member, but his lawsuit against his own union drags on pointlessly. Tags: Labor Unions Membership First SAG Believe it or not, he’s still trying to undo Doug Allen’s firing, the appointment of David White, the ratification of the TV/theatrical contract and, no doubt, the discovery of a new ring around Saturn. That last is probably a particularly bitter blow for the ex-president.

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Leno’s All Charged Up

Digital Media Law

But it also created a problem, because Leno, himself a WGA member, was penning his own material. Meanwhile, ironically, Jay made Hollywood labor news again in December, when it was announced that his show was moving to primetime, displacing five hours of scripted primetime programming per week and causing a commensurate loss of acting jobs that upset SAG. If found guilty, penalties could include a reprimand, a fine or even expulsion from the union (this last seems unlikely).

SAG Hardliners: The Trojan Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Digital Media Law

Tags: strike Labor Unions AFTRA Membership First SAG

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SAG Hardliners' Picnic No Walk in the Park

Digital Media Law

SAG President Alan Rosenberg, who spoke at the picnic cum rally, predicted “a good chance” of defeat for the pending TV/theatrical deal, but that seems unlikely if MF can only attract a handful of members to an event in LA, considered the group’s stronghold. Tags: strike Labor Unions Membership First SAG What if you held a picnic and nobody came? That’s almost where Membership First found itself yesterday.

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SAG TV/Theatrical Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly, 78%-22%

Digital Media Law

There was a large turnout—35% of eligible members voted, far above the typical 20%-25%. The ballots went out to 110,000 paid-up members. Approximately 110,000 SAG members received ballots of which 35.26 Tomorrow morning I will be contacting the elected leadership of the other talent unions with the hope of beginning a series of pre-negotiation summit meetings in preparation for 2011. We emerged with a solid deal that the members have now voted up.

SAG & Studios Agree to Tentative Deal

Digital Media Law

Ratification ballots will go out to the members of both unions next week, with a return date in mid-May. Back to the tentative TV/theatrical deal: Critically, this deal would expire on June 30, 2011, effectively synchronizing it with the Writers Guild, Directors Guild and AFTRA (smaller actors union) deals. This synchronicity should give the unions significant leverage, which raises the question of why the studios agreed to it. Change isn’t limited to the labor side.

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SAG Awards: Impressions from the Red Carpet

Digital Media Law

Alec Baldwin and Sally Field both took home statues, despite being targets of a blacklist aimed at nominees who opposed the union’s position on a strike authorization. That’s an allusion to the Employee Free Choice Act —proposed legislation that would make it easier to unionize.

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SAG Moderates Win Presidency, Secr. + Additional 4 Natl Seats

Digital Media Law

In a victory for the SAG moderate coalition (Unite for Strength / USAN / independents), the UFS candidates for president, Ken Howard, and secretary, Amy Aquino, won the union's national offices. So the union is still very divided, and Howard acknowledged that the results were not a landslide and that the union is very divided, while saying that he planned to reach out to MF supporters. Additionally, New York Division members elected Mike Hodge as NY Division President.

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Will SAG Strike? – Conference Call

Digital Media Law

There’ve been a lot of developments at SAG in the last few days: town hall meetings filled with members, many of whom in LA were pro-strike and in NY anti-strike; an anti-strike letter from A-list stars; an anti-strike op-ed in the LA Times; and more. Tags: SAG Labor Unions strike

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Lawsuit Blocks SAG Negotiations

Digital Media Law

A lawsuit to be filed this morning by Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg against his own union has blocked scheduled negotiations between the Guild and the studio alliance, or AMPTP. Rosenberg , notably, threatened two weeks ago to lead a “ fucking civil war ” in the union if Allen were fired. The self-pitying Rosenberg of a few days ago is gone, replaced by the more-familiar hardliner who seems ready to burn the union down in order to save it.

SAG TV/Theatrical Ballots Later Than Expected; SAG Litigation Continues; and More

Digital Media Law

Meanwhile, ballots for the commercials contract will be mailed to both SAG and AFTRA members Thursday, and due back May 21, reports Variety. I’m told SAG members will get checks several weeks after the agreement is ratified. That’s an issue created by the ten-month delay that the hardline Membership First faction inflicted on the union; without the delay, the deals would have synched up as a matter of course.

JLH on UCLA Panel re Labor

Digital Media Law

June 13, I'll be on a labor panel at the UCLA Altered States Media Conference, sponsored by the UCLA Producers Program and the UCLA Festival for New Creative Works. Conference price ranges from $80 (guild members or out of school 5 years or less), $125 (general admissions), $175 (MCLE legal education credit), and $25 (student). Tags: WGA Labor Unions SAG Next Sat.,

SAG Board Re-Do Successful

Digital Media Law

However, given SAG’s tangled history over the last 12 months of mostly non-negotiations, Rosenberg and his fellow Membership First plaintiffs 1st VP Anne-Marie-Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord can be expected to try to keep their lawsuit alive as long as possible. The change results from two Membership First board members, Angela Watson and Keith Carradine, breaking ranks and voting with the SAG moderates.

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SAG President’s Appeal Denied

Digital Media Law

Friday the 13 th proved unlucky for SAG president Alan Rosenberg and his co-plaintiffs in their lawsuit against their own union. Rosenberg and his fellow Membership First plaintiffs 1st VP Anne-Marie-Johnson and board members Diane Ladd and Kent McCord can still file an ordinary appeal of the denial, and they can still continue to press their lawsuit in the Superior Court as well. Tags: SAG Membership First Labor Unions strike

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SAG Sets Informational Meetings re TV/theatrical Agreement

Digital Media Law

SAG has set members-only informational meetings on the proposed contract. Supporting the deal are SAG staff and the SAG National Board, including SAG's moderate majority leadership, comprised of the LA-based Unite for Strength faction, LA independent board member Morgan Fairchild, and most or all of the NY and regional board members. 50% + 1) of those members voting. Ballots will be mailed to all eligible members on May 19, 2009.

SAG Presidential Candidate: I'll Seek Strike Authorization Next Year if Elected

Digital Media Law

She argued that that’s what’s needed to gain bargaining leverage and added that she’s “confident” the SAG membership would vote Yes, especially after the guild conducts an educational outreach campaign during its wages and working conditions (W&W) meetings with members. It’s my sense that Johnson may be at least partially right – i.e., that the union’s board would support a strike authorization, albeit not unanimously. How bizarre that she’s sued the union she now seeks to lead.)

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Pro-Deal Rally at SAG

Digital Media Law

Over 100 crew members and others rallied in front of SAG HQ in LA today, urging the union and the studios to make a deal. That leadership has come most recently in the form of a lawsuit by Rosenberg against his own union, as well as an interview in which he branded actors generally as “frightened little children.” Tags: SAG Labor Unions strike

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SAG Executive Director: TV/Theatrical Deal Will Pass

Digital Media Law

The referendum on the proposed contract between SAG and the studios began yesterday, as ballot packets were mailed to about 110,000 paid up members of the Screen Actors Guild. Although White judiciously refrained from singling out any particular members or factions, the comment seemed clearly a response to Membership First hardliners, who have frequently pointed to the studios’ 25-year refusal to improve home video residuals as evidence that the new media deal will never improve.

Hollywood Labor’s Long-Term Future: More Unrest

Digital Media Law

After a year and a half of Hollywood labor turmoil, we’re finally nearing a SAG deal and the end of this negotiating cycle. Will this be the beginning of a new era of labor peace in the industry? That means that a scant two years from now, when negotiations for 2011 renewals of the guild and union contracts begin, negotiators will be challenged with even newer forms of “new media,” new business models, and new economic realities.

DGA to Negotiate on SAG & AFTRA's Heels

Digital Media Law

The Directors Guild announced on its website today that it will begin negotiations with the AMPTP (studio alliance) in mid-November, which is immediately after the scheduled end of 45 days of negotiation between the AMPTP and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) & AFTRA (a smaller performers union). Tags: Labor Unions AFTRA guild DGA AMPTP SAG

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SAG Strike Authorization Ballots Delayed

Digital Media Law

This development was revealed less than two hours ago in an email from SAG National Executive Director Doug Allen to all SAG members, which also stated that an in-person SAG National Board meeting is now set for January 12-13 (all day the 12 th and part of the day the 13 th ). The 12 th and 13 th are weekdays, and this fact may make it hard for some NY and regional members to attend, and even some of the working UFS members may not be available.

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Report on SAG NY Town Hall Meeting

Digital Media Law

The Variety report notes that attendees included SAG interim NED David White, President Alan Rosenberg, MF-ers 1 st VP Anne-Marie Johnson and Scott Wilson, while supporters of the deal included Dan Lauria, Dylan Baker, SAG 2nd VP Sam Freed and board members Ralph Byers, Paul Christie, Rebecca Damon, Mike Hodge and Kevin Scullin. Tags: strike Labor Unions Membership First SAG SAG held a town hall meeting in NY last night to provide information re the TV/theatrical contract.

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Screen Actors Guild President Calls Actors “Frightened Little Children”

Digital Media Law

The song is cast in the voice of an ungrateful union member: “I don’t care about nobody. The spoken-word portion of the interview also includes a defense of fired national executive director Doug Allen, and the conversation comes just days after an email from Rosenberg to SAG members in which he practically beatified Allen. I feel isolated from the operations of the union.” Tags: SAG Membership First Labor Unions strike

SAG Moderates File Document to Fire National Executive Director

Digital Media Law

The document, called a written assent, is signed by a majority of SAG’s national board (including Unite for Strength board members and most or all others who are not part of Membership First), as provided for in SAG’s constitution. In a meeting two weeks ago, a majority of the board sought to make the crucial changes now contained in the written assent, but were derailed by President Alan Rosenberg and a minority of board members through endless parliamentary games and improper behavior.

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SAG No News Press Release

Digital Media Law

I am deeply committed to the Guild and its members and I believe that, working with the national board, we can help guide this transition.” “I A graduate of Stanford Law School and a Rhodes Scholar, White was previously a labor and employment attorney at the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny & Myers. During his nearly 40 years with the union, he participated in or led more than 30 contract negotiations covering actors. Tags: SAG Labor Unions

What Can SAG Do Next?

Digital Media Law

Or, leadership might even include a recommendation that the members vote no. Tags: SAG AMPTP Labor Unions strike Talks between the Screen Actors Guild and the studio alliance (AMPTP) have collapsed, and the studios have offered SAG a take it or leave it offer.

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SAG-AMPTP Negotiations Still on Despite Lawyers’ Threat

Digital Media Law

An AMPTP (studio alliance) spokesman confirmed to me today that negotiations between the studios and SAG are still on for next Tuesday and Wednesday, as previously announced , despite a threat from SAG President Alan Rosenberg’s lawyers that any deal reached would be null, void and not binding on SAG members. Tags: SAG Membership First Labor Unions strike

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SAG-AFTRA Ratify Advertising Agreement; SAG Townhall Features Fireworks

Digital Media Law

SAG and AFTRA announced yesterday that their combined paid-up membership, about 132,000 members, overwhelmingly ratified the contracts between the unions and the advertising industry. The approximately three-hour confab kicked off with statements from the dais (no PowerPoint, unlike under the previous administration), and was mostly taken up by member questions and comments, which were described as overwhelmingly anti-ratification.

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SAG Board Approves Studio Deal

Digital Media Law

Ballots will go out to the members in early May and will be due back three weeks later. Details and analysis of the deal are available here , and below are press releases from SAG, AFTRA (a rival actors union) and the AMPTP (the alliance representing the studios). percent to approve and recommend to members, new, two-year successor agreements to the 2005 Producer-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement and 2005 Screen Actors Guild Television Agreement.

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