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Actors Going on Strike

Actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild, Alan Rosenberg, poses for a portrait in this March 17, 2003, file photo taken in Los Angeles. The Screen Actors Guild said Saturday Nov. 22, 2008 that contract talks with Hollywood studios has failed despite the help of a federal mediator and it will now ask its members to authorize a strike. (AP Photo/Ric Francis, File)

Actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild, Alan Rosenberg, poses for a portrait in this March 17, 2003, file photo taken in Los Angeles. The Screen Actors Guild said Saturday Nov. 22, 2008 that contract talks with Hollywood studios has failed despite the help of a federal mediator and it will now ask its members to authorize a strike. (AP Photo/Ric Francis, File)

In what seems an inauspicious time, what with a down economy, the Screen Actors Guild is threatening a strike.

“We have already made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach agreement,” the statement said. “Now it’s time for SAG members to stand united and empower the national negotiating committee to bargain with the strength of a possible work stoppage behind them.”

The statement did not specify what led to the impasse, saying only that “management continues to insist on terms we cannot responsibly accept.” A SAG spokeswoman said she would not comment further. A call to the movie producers group, known as the AMPTP, was not immediately returned.

It’s difficult to imagine a less sympathetic labor class — or one less in need of collective bargaining — than Hollywood actors. The horrible working conditions that could lead to the strike?

SAG is seeking union coverage for all Internet-only productions regardless of budget and residual payments for Internet productions replayed online, as well as continued actor protections during work stoppages. But the AMPTP said it was untenable for SAG to demand a better deal than what writers, directors and another actors union accepted earlier in the year, especially now that the economy has worsened.

Indeed.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    For the most part color me unsympathetic.

    Looks like we are in for another season of new reality TV shows.

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  2. Dave Schuler says:

    James, I think you need to look at the bigger picture here. Only about 10% of the membership of SAG makes $30,000 or more. Most SAG actors make less than $7,500 a year from acting. The work environment includes high pressure, lousy hours, and poor treatment.

    Most actors aren’t Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Most aren’t even Alan Rosenberg. Indeed, it’s the rare actor that can maintain a middle class lifestyle let alone a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

    Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics info on actors, producers, and directors.

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  3. Just because someone wants to be an actor it doesn’t mean they are entitled to make a living at it. I’m pretty sure the demand for actors is much smaller than the supply.

    Since I don’t watch TV that involves actors or bother with theaters more than the increasingly small handful of movies that are worth it each year, I could care less.

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  4. [...] way of OTB, where Joyner says: It’s difficult to imagine a less sympathetic labor class — or one less in need of collective [...]

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  5. capital L says:

    Why doesn’t the SAG simply charge higher fees to it’s richer members and transfer this money to it’s less successful members. Progressivism & welfare on the “home front” as it were.

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  6. jabberwock says:

    Given all that we are faced with as a society…the obvious response is “Who cares” and “Why does it matter?”
    Maybe they can line up behind GM and all the other failures and ask for “gummit help.”

    Spare me

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