As this article in Variety suggests, the studios continue making films, but under the terms and conditions of the old contract. They are calling the current SAG leadership’s bluff, arguing that SAG does not have the backing in its membership to lead a strike.
To date that would appear to be true – without a compelling argument that SAG could improve on the deal that the WGA, DGA and AFTRA got after a 100 day strike earlier this year, why would SAG’s members follow their leadership in a senseless battle?
This reinforces the argument raised by the new opposition slate in the Guild, Unite For Strength, that the leadership’s strategy of going it alone without AFTRA has been a failure.
Indeed, it would appear that actors are losing a significant amount of money on a daily basis as long as SAG’s leaders are unable to conclude a deal that enables actors to work under a ratified union contract.
The producers say that their “final” offer is worth $250 million more than the contract that recently expired and the terms of which continue to be used by the AMPTP. SAG says that is an exaggeration so let’s knock that number down by 20%.
That leaves $200 million.
Divide that amount by the 1,095 days in a new three year deal and that means SAG members are losing more than $180,000.00 every day a deal remains unsigned, or nearly $5.5 million a month!
Of course, SAG says it can and should get more than the $200-250 million. They certainly are right that they should get more (DVD’s generate a multi-billion dollar windfall to the studios every year) but can they? That depends on whether the current leadership has a strategy that can move the Producers off their current proposal.
The approach of Membership First appears to be to just delay signing a deal – while actors lose at least $180,000 per day – using the re-election process to prove they have the support of the Guild’s members. But that means no deal until at least late September after the fall SAG elections and even then it seems unlikely to come soon since it is not clear how a re-election of Membership First motivates the Producers to improve the terms of the deal.
Despite receiving the unanimous backing of their National Board and support from the Unte For Strength opposition for improvement in the new media terms of the contract, Membership First backed SAG President Alan Rosenberg and NED Doug Allen have yet to outline a strategy for moving the Producers.
Bottom line? No deal until Membership First finally caves in, perhaps sometime in October. Let’s say they cut a deal with slightly improved language on force majeur and product placement but no real new money in mid-October.
Since the promise of retroactivity is off the table as of August 15, that means the cost of keeping Membership First in power and using their stall strategy will mean Guild members will have lost nearly $20 million.