Potential SAG Strike Sends TF2 on Hiatus

24/06/2008 0 By Administratus Prime

 After all the coverage of the WGA strike late last year and into this year you would think the potential Actors’ strike would be getting more coverage. Hell, I stayed on top of the WGA strike as much as I could and this is the first time I have even brought up the possibility that the actors could go on strike as early as June 30 sending Hollywood into a tailspin.

Outside of The Hollywood Reporter it is strange the negotiations between SAG and AFTRA hasn’t inspired more articles of dread, but perhaps no one is willing to fan the flames. Even rabid attention whore blogger Nikki Finke hasn’t been all that talkative about it, even though she does have a teaser post up right now telling folks she has “urgent” news to tell. Oh boy Nikki, we can hardly wait…

Pushing Nikki aside (thank God), a new article at The Independent does a great job putting the entire affair into perspective as major films have already planned for a hiatus and several others may suffer a tragic blow as the rush to complete production inside the next week.

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First off, we have projects such as Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant, Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost, Seth Rogen’s Observe and Report, High School Musical 3, GI Joe, When in Rome, Disney’s Race to Witch Mountain and apparently Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones (even though word on that one was that it had completed filming) that are rushing to finish production by July 1. Yeah, it’s not a short list of films that are eyeing a ticking clock.

If a strike were to happen you can go ahead and count out, for now, films such as Ridley Scott’s Nottingham and “The Independent” reports that both the currently filming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Ron Howard’s Angels and Demons will be taking a planned hiatus, which had to have been thought of in advance, presuming the potential for a strike. The question is, how soon will they be returning from their break?

As it stands right now SAG has urged its roughly 44,000 members who also are AFTRA card holders, to vote down the current AFTRA agreement on the table. The union’s leaders said they can get a better deal and do not want to be constrained by AFTRA’s contract.

SAG’s request obviously doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but SAG chief negotiator Doug Allen is trying to spin it otherwise saying, “It makes a strike less likely because it will send the clear signal that working actors aren’t satisfied with the AFTRA deal and, to get a deal, management will have to do better,” Allen wrote. “It gives us more leverage, not less, at the negotiating table and makes it less likely we would have to consider the ultimate leverage of a strike. Any sane union leader wants to avoid a strike if at all possible. This is all about SAG’s negotiations, not the internal operations of AFTRA,” he added. “We are not interfering in their internal affairs.”

However, it doesn’t stop there. Several high-profile dual cardholders, including Tom Hanks, have signed on to a letter to AFTRA members stating why they are voting yes on the new contract. Hanks’s name was a hot button for news media as the story was picked up just about everywhere, to speculate the move has something to do with the fact that a strike would affect Angels and Demons, of which Hanks stars in would be nothing but speculation, but I will do it anyway.

While “The Hollywood Reporter” says other “high-profile” cardholders are going to vote “yes”. Who are they? Well, high-profile for the industry maybe, but not too convincing to us average joes as Yahoo! says they include former SAG president Richard Masur, Loretta Swit from “M-A-S-H”, James Cromwell, Adam Arkin, Morgan Fairchild and Tess Harper. Not exactly Hollywood’s elite.

I really haven’t been following these negotiations close enough to say much. Apparently the guild is pushing for higher wage increases, increased fees for Internet and DVD content, better mileage reimbursements and more protection for actors who refuse to consent to the use of clips of their images online.

Source: Rope of Silicon