New York SAG is out with a statement opposing the Strike Vote, calling for a National Board meeting and looking to replace the current negotiating committee.
SAG President Alan Rosenberg did not wait long to respond agreeing to the National Board meeting but only for the purpose of discussing what he calls a “destructive and subversive” action by New York.
Subversive? Hmm, sounds like 50’s style McCarthy rhetoric. I thought we had enough of that in the recent Presidential campaign.
Rosenberg’s real problem is that he does not understand that labor battles are first fought within one’s own organization, and only then secondarily with the employers. And those battles can only be truly won by having a sound analysis of the industrial balance of power and then developing a strategy to increase the union’s impact in that arena.
Membership First had laudable goals – particularly higher DVD residuals – but no argument or strategy for achieving them.
They then put in a team on staff and committees that did not do the hard work necessary to develop an argument and strategy.
They have relied on bluster and confrontation. They implemented a “go it alone” strategy when the long and difficult WGA strike was only partially successful and should have made clear the risks of being last in line.
The result was inevitable – the MF-controlled negotiating committee has all but dropped DVD residuals from their demands. Instead they are obsessive about a financially meaningless segment of the industry, and they have helped create a membership that is divided and lacking in trust.
There is wisdom in the words coming from New York and if combined with productive use of the leverage that SAG still has (see my memos here and here for some ideas), as well as sensible negotiating by a new team, SAG could still win a reasonable deal that allows the Guild to live to fight another day.
I understand that President Rosenberg – like our new President-elect – is a fan of Lincoln. Perhaps now is the time for him, like Lincoln, to stand apart from the factions in the union and provide the leadership the organization needs to confront this crisis.
I wish him well.