SAG Delays Strike Authorization Vote

Although union leadership still pushes for a possible strike, members of the Screen Actors Guild have forced postponement of a planned strike-authorization vote by two weeks.

SAG was supposed to send out ballots for the vote on Jan. 2, to be completed by Jan. 23. But SAG leaders now say there is lack of consensus for the plan. Instead, SAG president Alan Rosenberg will hold a special national board meeting the week of Jan. 12.

Dissenting SAG members have said a strike in a weak, recessionary economy would send the wrong signal. The delay comes after high-profile members, such as Tom Hanks and George Clooney, publicly opposed strike authorization. Celebrities for the strike include SAG members Mel Gibson and Martin Sheen.

So far, SAG says 2,524 members have endorsed the proposed strike authorization plan, but that 1,373 total members are opposed to it. The union needs a yes vote by 75% of members, who can then call for a work stoppage. SAG has about 120,000 members--most do not work full-time as actors.



A vote for a strike could severely hurt the Academy Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 22, as actors will not want to cross picket lines.

SAG has been working without a contract since the previous one expired on June 30. The guild has been at an impasse with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over compensation on digital media. After a federal mediator last month failed to solve the impasse, SAG said it would seek strike authorization.

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