Coastal split widens in actors contract stalemate

Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:59pm EDT
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By Leslie Simmons

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The New York regional board of the Screen Actors Guild demanded on Sunday that the Hollywood union take meaningful steps toward negotiating a new contract by August 25 or bring in a federal mediator.

Sam Freed, a member of the negotiating committee who is also president of the New York board and the union's second national vice president, said that the longer the union waits to make a deal, the more it hurts its members.

"All of us in New York, Hollywood and across the country should be concerned about how this failure to reach an agreement is impacting our members," Freed said. "They have already suffered significantly as a result of the (Writers Guild of America) strike, and now they are experiencing an additional loss of work, made worse when they can find a job, by having to work without a contract under old terms and conditions.

"There are some who feel we have all the time in the world to make this deal," he added. "We on the New York board do not."

The move drew immediate fire from SAG president Alan Rosenberg.

"This advisory motion is not in the best interests of New York Division SAG members or any SAG members across the country," he said in a statement. "It could delay and prolong the negotiations by emboldening management with a false belief that SAG actors are split on the issues."


In its statement, the New York board rejected Friday's message from SAG leaders that members of the negotiating committee are meeting informally with industry representatives and members of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers to hash out a new contract for television and film. The board said that "nothing is happening and we are no closer to a deal than we were six weeks ago.   Continued...

<p>A general view shows the Screen Actors Guild National Headquarters in Los Angeles July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>