Skip to content


Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

Dissident Voice Article

By David Macaray

After lengthy negotiations, Hollywood’s two biggest actors unions have agreed to a merger. The parties reached a tentative pact on Monday, January 16, after being holed up for nine days at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. A vote by SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) members is expected as early as April, and if 60-percent of each union agrees, they will become known as SAGAFTRA.

Although the merger is expected to be ratified (more the result of apathy and resignation than exuberance), there is still some trepidation among SAG’s rank-and-file, because they know that “bigger” isn’t always “better,” and that sometimes “less” is “more.” If you want to win a track meet, you find one guy who can jump 7-feet, not seven guys who can jump 1-foot.

Like so many unions that opted for ill-advised “convenience mergers”—and then came to regret those decisions—these SAG members fear that by merging with AFTRA they will become marginalized and diluted to the point of ineffectiveness. There’s a time-honored axiom in organized labor: The bigger and more diverse a union, the less chance of it going out on strike.

I asked a well-placed and knowledgeable SAG insider for his views on the proposed merger. Because of a “non-disparagement” agreement that forbids union board and committee members to speak negatively about the proposal (How’s that for old-fashioned freedom of speech?), and because getting acting jobs in Hollywood is tricky enough without sacrificially identifying yourself as a “malcontent,” he requested anonymity. Here is his overview:

My biggest concern with the merger is the unknown impact it will have on SAG’s pension and health plans. A 2003 study suggested that merging SAG’s plans with AFTRA’s would result in the diminution of SAG’s overall package. A comprehensive study is imperative before we vote on this proposed merger.

SAG and AFTRA have been negotiating together since 1981. Some might say that the weaknesses that exist in key areas of our respective contracts today demonstrate that so-called ‘leverage’ doesn’t count for much if there is little evidence of a willingness to use that ‘leverage’ when needed.

I hope both unions agree to send out an objective ‘pro’ and ‘con’ statement included in the merger referendum. And I hope they agree to commissioning a feasibility study prior to the vote. Members should have access to all of this information prior to voting. From what I’ve read and what I know, this merger will not provide members with either what they are demanding or what they are expecting.

Historically, SAG, which has about 125,000 members and represents mainly actors, has been the stronger, savvier and more prestigious union. In addition to actors, AFTRA (which got its start in radio and has about 70,000 members) also represents emcees, hosts, comedians, television news personalities, DJs, sports and entertainment announcers, singers, dancers, professional pitchmen, etc. Approximately 40,000 people belong to both unions.

Both SAG and AFTRA negotiate with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers), which means that the team of negotiators that sits across the table from the union at a contract bargain represents the interests of the producers. So it’s actors vs. producers. Artists vs. bean-counters. Guild vs. Alliance. Management vs. Labor. Surfers vs. Ho-dads. Any way you cut it, it’s your classic adversarial showdown.

Except for one detail. Some of the most influential card-carrying union members in Hollywood (Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Robert DeNiro, et al) happen to be producers themselves. Nothing against any of those men—they’re good guys and excellent actors, every one of them—but such an arrangement is bound to raise questions about a conflict of interest.

Another troubling detail: Agents who represent professional actors are allowed to have equity in the projects being discussed. In other words, an agent who’s paid to get an actor a fair fee for a role in a movie is allowed to be a profit-taker in that same movie. He may be one of the movie’s producers. Again, that raises questions about a possible conflict of interest.

These and other anomalies are what make Hollywood labor relations so difficult to navigate. And not to whine about the media, but they haven’t been helpful. In fact, they’ve been an impediment. In 2008, the media unfairly characterized SAG’s Membership First negotiators as “hard-liners,” which was not only inaccurate, but, sadly, indicative of the depths to which people’s expectations have sunk. Apparently, we’ve reached the point where all it takes for workaday actors to be labeled “hard-liners” is to request that wealthy producers give them a fair shake at the bargaining table.

It’s now obvious that unions across the country are being assaulted, and that the middle-class is being systematically dismantled. And it’s equally obvious that Hollywood—glamorous and fabled as it is—has jumped on that bandwagon. What those Membership First officers were trying to do in 2008, despite a decidedly labor-hostile environment, was provide SAG membership with the best contract they could possibly deliver. And isn’t that the job of a labor union?

If this were a big-time industrial union, those Membership First folks would be regarded as nothing more or less than your garden variety union negotiators. Management pushes, they push back Only in the movie industry would they be depicted as subversive. Yet, given Hollywood’s unique labor dynamic, maybe none of this should surprise us. Maybe it should be expected. In fact, maybe it comes with the territory.

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

View the original article at dissidentvoice.org

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Analysis & Review.


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.

Why?

Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?



css.php