I was interviewed at length today on the likely end to this stage of negotiations. As Variety reports it looks indeed as if things will fall apart tomorrow. No big surprise but the emphasis in this story by Membership First friendly writer McNary on the possibility of a strike authorization vote (“SAV”) leads me to believe that is the likely next step by the two Allens.
If this were still the SAG of the Gilbert-Daniels era I might be inclined to think the outcome of the vote would be overwhelmingly in favor of a strike. Votes like this are traditionally considered pro forma – why wouldn’t the rank and file want their leadership to have as much clout as possible at the bargaining table.
But we are in a new era now. The “affected member voting” (“AMV”) bloc now represents a distinct alternative to MF even if they have not organized themselves politically yet. An SAV is very likely to move AMV closer to that possibility. And they would likely find some support among A-listers and New York and the RBD. Why hand clout to the Allens when they have helped paint the union into the corner in which it finds itself? After all, once bargaining ends tomorrow, the Producers are likely to say, “see you in June.” Then they will do deals with AFTRA (likely backed heavily by the 44,000 dual cardholders) and the IA (eager, unlike SAG apparently, to get in on the new media gains made by the WGA and DGA).
Will SAG use the time to figure out how to increase their leverage against the producers? No evidence of that to this point.
So when the SAV takes place it is entirely possible it will fall short of the typical 90-95% yes votes, and even possible it would fall below the required 75% in the SAG Constitution.
Ironically, that could work in the Allens’ favor. They know, in the end, that they have failed to lay the groundwork for a successful strike. The energy and enthusiasm brought into the Guild by the years of effort of Membership First have been frittered away by misguided attacks on AFTRA and internal opponents. Thus, the Allens need an excuse to avoid what would likely be a disastrous strike and cut a deal. A failed SAV would play right into their hands.
Not a pretty picture.