SAG and AFTRA may divorce

by Paul William Tenny

When I said the other day that the differences between SAG and AFTRA were such that they should just stop pretending they still want to bargain together, and just end their relationship so AFTRA can see how much it sucks going it alone.

To be quite honest, while I believed it would have been for the best, I won't pretend that I understand the complexities of their collective bargaining partnership. It may not be the best thing when all the various repercussions are taken into account, and yet, this may be exactly what is going to happen.
Long perturbed over AFTRA's refusal to cut back its 50-50 representation on bargaining committees, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have approved going to SAG's 120,000 members next month with a referendum that proposes ditching the guild's 27-year-old Phase 1 joint bargaining agreement.

Saturday's national board voting was split along geographic lines, with Hollywood reps, who hold 60% of the seats, endorsing the move over vehement opposition from New York and regional reps.

The difference in membership and revenue alone means AFTRA is being completely unreasonable in its expectation of maintaining a voting bloc like that. It's also not terribly surprising that in the face of losing all that power, that they are flying off the handle and will do anything they can to stop this vote.

I hate to frame it like this, but a SAG-AFTRA split wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. AFTRA's voice strongly jepordizes any chance that SAG will remain strong to the cause, and possibly strike this summer if no deal between the AMPTP and WGA has materialized, along with the necessarily crappy deal that the DGA is looking to push on everybody else.

Things may not play out that way, it's not really something you can predict or even hedge on, but I'm certain that a SAG-AFTRA split would be good for the WGA whereby they would form a united front against the congloms -- writers really don't need a fractured personality over there right now.

On the other hand, losing AFTRA like that is not a dynamic that I really understand. I have no clue what kind of "bad" such a split would bring to the table, I'm only aware of the benefits. Any thoughts from readers?
in Labor


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