SAG AFTRA Merger–Don’t Know, Vote NO

IMG_9156The establishment of the SAG-AFTRA, “One Union” merger have been pulling out all of the stops during this attempt of guild blending.  Well, by “all of the stops”, I mean they are parading celebrity pleas for “YES” votes and ignoring critical questions.  I had questions and was directed to call or email the people at www.sagaftra.org.  It’s been weeks with multiple attempts and I still have no response.

They’ve held online meetings, one of which I viewed, and in person meetings and they’ve sent out slick mailers, but have failed to answer any of the questions that I’ve had.  It was extremely frustrating not being heard by the people purporting to represent my interests.

THEN I see SAG-AFTRA post this Lewis Black rant:

He must be right…he’s yelling and talking down to me.

Besides being another celebrity who has NONE of the same needs that I have, this is just downright insulting.  Those of us who dare question this merger need to “think for once”?   The ONLY thing funny about this clip is that he rails on people for clinging to a slogan but only really offers slogans in return.  Oh yeah, he gives the “guy working on two cartoons at once” scenario, because that happens to a majority of the membership on a regular basis.  Other than that, he’s just spewing establishment talking points, in a really loud voice.

There are lots of things that I Don’t Know about this proposed merger and that’s why I’m leaning towards no.  Here are the major ones:

  • I Don’t Know what is going to happen to pension and health benefits.  I know the establishment line is that you can’t lose any of your current pension. BIG DEAL.  They can change the vesting rules so that only rich, funny guys like Lewis will qualify, even though the rest of us peasants pay into the system.  It could be a sweet deal for them moving forward.  Medical coverage is the same way.  If they raise the minimum earnings to qualify for coverage while ALL of us contribute, it can only benefit ALL of the recognizable faces they keep shoving in your faces pleading with you to vote “YES”.
  • I Don’t Know what will happen to the self-production friendly “New Media” contracts. Why?  Because they won’t answer my question.  Not all of us have HBO willing to air our loud, staccato rants on TV, so we need other outlets, like YouTube.  Those of us who have chosen to abide by Global Rule One, need to know if these contracts will survive the merger since the now all powerful union doesn’t have to compete with anyone.  They could…without a member vote…strike down these useful contracts.
  • I Don’t Know why, when actors are going to still have to live under Global Rule One (working only on union project) that broadcasters and journalists are free to work non-union.  I’ve been told for years that Global Rule One is a pillar of our strength.  How strong will we be when our own fellow members can walk right by our picket line and go to work and be within the rules?
  • I Don’t Know why, when actors are the majority of both membership and revenue that we will not have a representative majority on the new board.  Seems a little democratically “off” to me.
  • I Don’t Know how a single union can represent the interests of Celebs, Extras, Day Players, Radio DJs, News Anchors, Reporters, etc.  In a perfect world, we would have one organization for performers and another for personalities and if you needed to, you could belong to the one or both.  For now, I feel like this super union will have more leverage on ME than they do the big bad studios they’re always trying to scare me about.

I’m sorry, Mr. Black, but just because you’re loud and talk down to me, it doesn’t make you right.  It is a legitimate claim to want to know things before approving them.  It is probable that the reason I don’t know these details is because no one “in the know” is willing to talk about them.  It is my experience that if there is something to hide, someone will hide it.  If the SAG-AFTRA “One Union” merger is so amazing, why don’t you take your condescending rant to them about answering the questions?  Until then…

If I Don’t Know, I Vote No

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About jeffdalydose

...a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of awesome!

Posted on March 20, 2012, in Acting & Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Bill Birney aka B. Martinez Birney

    Great stuff Jeff and way to have the courage to share your honest opinion. I didn’t know either which means the people with the responcibility of convincing me why we should merge didn’t do their job. I agree with you and I voted NO for the same reason as you… I just didn’t know and felt like I was getting the hard sell from the elite members of SAG and AFTRA
    I really am impressed with this blog by the way ;) Great Job!!!! BB aka Bill Birney

  2. Hi Jeff,
    I know that Lewis’ video was typical of his sense of humor and well-known schtick. Sorry if you took it personally.

    That said, I was on the G-1 and am sorry I couldn’t address the mis-information you’ve received before you voted. The future of ALL actors & performers & broadcasters are inextricably tied together in that we all work for the same 7 multi-national employers. See the Leverage slides that came with your ballot. Consolidated media MUST be met with Consolidated Talent.

    These two unions cannot continue in their current state of dysfunction. We have to unite to stop the competition and the fighting, so we can focus our significant resources on ORGANIZING more work opportunities for you and all members.

    You don’t recognize my face or voice, and I’ve had benefits since 1976. Benefits come from good contracts. The unions need to focus on that. The unions have NO say in the design of the Benefit Plans. And the Trustees (1/2 of whom are management) are not going to agree to help us until we can prove finally!! that we can merge our unions. We’ve been here before!! And obviously, they don’t WANT to help us at all.

    So, I know it’s too late for you and Bill, but I believe in this merger as the BEST move we can make for ourselves and for our futures.

    I encourage everyone who hasn’t voted yet to Vote YES for their Future. Ballots will be counted March 30th. Get them in the mail!!!

    Thanks.
    Anne Gartlan

    • Hi Anne,

      I wasn’t just insulted by Lewis Black’s clip, but the whole way that they run the campaign. They have clearly avoided answering questions and chose the route of parading celebrities with simplified messages.

      It actually isn’t too late for me, I think I’ll likely mail my ballot on Friday (tomorrow).

      The only argument that seems to be made is that we must consolidate to fight the consolidating media. It’s not an argument that means much to me. Whether we have 7 employers or 20, the challenges are the same. I am not opposed to merging, I just have questions about HOW they are merging this time. There are too many oddities for my comfort level and I want some things rethought and I want everything out front and transparent.

      Thank you for engaging in respectful dialog. These things tend to get out of hand…

      Jeff

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