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SAG to move forward with strike vote

January 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Screen Actors Guild says it is moving forward with plans for a strike authorization vote.A date for the ballots to be mailed out was undecided after a two-day emergency meeting. During the meeting board members attempted but failed to fire the Guild's lead negotiator with Hollywood studios, Doug Allen, SAG's national executive director who supports a strike vote.

SAG President Alan Rosenberg issued a statement saying the group trying to oust Allen didn't submit the proper documents or number of signatures necessary.

While the union prepares to celebrate the craft of acting, it also is dealing with an internal power struggle over whether or not to threaten to strike. With the economy on the skids some actors admit this may not be the time for threats.

"It's probably in everyone's best interest to try to keep things as normal for a while as possible," said actor Corey Reynolds. "It's been a pretty hectic year that we're all coming out of, and I think it's in everyone's best interest to stay away from the type of thing."

Those against a strike may have gained the upper hand in the union. While the attempt to fire Allen failed, industry observers say the moderates are in a much stronger position than in the past.

Actors in the 120,000-member guild have been working without a contract on movies and prime-time TV shows since June 30.

The actors guild has been pressing the major studios for a better deal on residual payments for productions made for Internet distribution. It also wanted to ensure continued benefits during work stoppages, including those that are caused by strikes by other unions.

Last year, a 100-day strike by writers reduced the Golden Globe Awards to a news conference, but a deal was reached quickly enough to save the Academy Awards.

SAG officials were planning on a strike vote to pressure the studios, but the internal power struggle led by A-list actors like George Clooney may force the union to change tactics.

"All of us want to see whatever's going to be best for the industry as a whole to take place, so I'm not going to go either way on it," said Reynolds.

A strike vote requires 75 percent support from voting members to succeed. If it is approved, the SAG national board can call a strike. Voting would take about three weeks. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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