Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vote No, Sandra Says

SAG, AFTRA brawl heats up
Cromwell, Oh take battle to the phonelines

The SAG and AFTRA brawl has escalated, thanks to the battle of the dueling robo-calls.
A week after AFTRA members began receiving automated phone calls from James Cromwell in support of ratifying AFTRA's primetime deal, SAG struck back with calls from Sandra Oh urging the 44,000 dual cardholders to vote down the AFTRA pact.

SAG national exec director Doug Allen notified board members Wednesday morning of the Oh messages that would be going out to members later in the day. "We intend to place similar calls over the next week or so," he added.

Oh delivered a fiery speech in support of striking writers at the conclusion of the WGA's march on Hollywood Boulevard last November. SAG was the closest union ally of the WGA during the work stoppage.

Move comes with talks between SAG and the majors in their 33rd day with little indication of progress toward a deal, despite the looming June 30 expiration of SAG's contract. The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers accused SAG last week of wasting the congloms' time by stalling the talks until around July 7, when the results of voting on AFTRA's deal are expected to be announced.

SAG's insisted that AFTRA's deal falls short in wide array of key areas, including salary minimums, online clip consent, DVD residuals, new media pay rates and jurisdiction, force majeure and product integration protections. Its leaders have asserted that a "no" vote will force AFTRA and the companies to make a better deal.

AFTRA continued to blast away at SAG Wednesday, defending its deal and insisting that a "no" vote will lead to a strike instead.

"The 'No' vote SAG Hollywood is trying to foment on the Exhibit A contract is a strike vote for the kind of industry chaos that has already shut down the movie industry and would paralyze television," the union said. "Don't underestimate what's at stake here. If your agreement is not ratified, the employers can and probably will take back many of the gains you've already won."

Besides the Cromwell calls, AFTRA pro-ratification campaign's included multiple emails, video testimonials on the AFTRA web site, set visits by staff, local meetings and house parties hosted by negotiating committee members, member-to-member phone calls, traditional mailings and a pair of informational meetings in Los Angeles.

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