AMPTP vs. SAG: The Feds step in

amptp-sagAfter a summer of near-non-activity and lots of posturing, the Screen Actors Guild took a page out of the Federal Reserve’s playbook and called for a “bailout” of their negotiations—or to be completely accurate, they requested that the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service contact the AMPTP on their behalf to ask them to return to negotiations.

This all went down during the Hollywood Membership meeting on Sunday, which according to the A.L. Miller at the SAG Watchdog site was held at the Grand Ballroom of a Marriott in downtown Los Angeles. A crowd of nearly 800 members were present, most of them eager to send off a strike authorization vote to the entire guild when unofficially polled by vice president Anne-Marie Johnson.

However, they also agreed that before they did that, they should contact and request federal mediation, and if their negotiating committee determines from that action that they won’t be able to get a new contract, then they’ll send off the vote.

The AMPTP had this to say, in the form of a letter sent to SAG’s leadership:

In light of the unprecedented economic difficulties facing our industry and the nation, the Companies continue to hope that the Guild’s leadership will recognize the five major labor agreements that have already been concluded this year and will accept our Final Offer while it remains on the table.

What wasn’t in the letter was the unofficial position taken by the AMPTP that neither calling for a strike or getting the feds to step in would make the studios budge, as noted in the first paragraph of the “Breaking News” item from October 19.

However, Miller’s choosing to see this and a Variety article written about these recent events (which Miller was gracious enough to reproduce) as a weakening of their resolve.

First, Miller pulled out a single quote from the very long article:

One source close to the studios said he’s expecting the congloms will agree to participate in the mediation process in hopes that a deal can be hammered out.

From this single line of text and the AMPTP’s statement, Miller concludes:

[Let’s] analyze this carefully written statement a little closer. First off, like I said, it isn’t really a response at all but a bit of rambling rhetoric, or what is know in the trade as vamping.

It starts with a little self-serving bragging, and ends with a dash of wishful thinking. And then avoids a direct YES or NO, and, instead, argues that there is no justification for SAG to expect a deal exceeding past negotiated deals in, ah, ah, better times. No, no NO nowhere in that sentence.

You know me, I’m all for critical analysis in reading press releases. But I think that this time, especially considering how many times the AMPTP has thrown around the “in this economy” remark, the Watchdog and the SAG are the ones whose asses will have a bite taken out of them.

Related Posts: SAG gears up for strike, but India gets there first

Posted on October 22, 2008 at 06:50 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News