Despite the best efforts of Membership First’s favorite journalist, Variety’s Dave McNary, the sense that the momentum for SAG is weakening comes through in this report on last night’s meeting of 300 (out of tens of thousands of) Hollywood Guild members. Compare last night’s meeting in Hollywood for SAG with similar meetings by the WGA where thousands sometimes attended. By this stage in negotiations they had an enthusiastic membership that gave them a 90% strike authorization vote along with widespread public sympathy. SAG appears fearful of even conducting a strike vote that must achieve a 75% majority to have any meaning.
A deeper question, hinted at in the Variety article, but made explicit in a post after the meeting put up on SAG Actor Bulletin Board by George Fitch Watson is whether or not my prediction that the SAG negotiating team – led by Doug Allen and Alan Rosenberg – would give up on their original demands and push the membership to accept a deal that is far from what they had hoped for (and far from what they deserve). Watson contends that the negotiating team is “imploding” and believes the membership of SAG will end up thinking they are better off without a union altogether. This is a sure sign of crisis in the organization, if true. It also points to a sign that the MF group is beginning to splinter.
My guess is that it is too late to do much about achieving much more than what the WGA, DGA and AFTRA got this year, but it is certainly not too late to re-think the future of unions in the EMI sector. If the membership does not do it, the producers certainly will.