Hollywood actors union seeks authority for strike

Thu Oct 2, 2008 5:09am EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film and television actors ratcheted up pressure on Hollywood's major studios on Wednesday when negotiators, stalled in labor talks with producers, sought backing to put a strike authorization vote to guild members.

Contract negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild, which is the largest U.S. actors union with some 120,000 members, passed a resolution seeking the endorsement of SAG's national board for guild members to vote on whether to call a work stoppage, which, if it occurred, would be the second halt this year.

Late on Wednesday, SAG released the resolution passed by its contract negotiating committee, but said it would have no further comment.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios, shot back with its own statement asking, "Is this really the time for anyone in the entertainment business to be talking about going on strike?"

But SAG said a strike authorization vote by members "is necessary to overcome the employers' intransigence."

A strike authorization ballot is not a vote on a work halt, but it does give union leaders leverage in the contract talks that stalled back in July after a final offer from the AMPTP.

The entertainment industry is on edge about another possible work stoppage on the heels of the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike that crippled film and TV production.

That work stoppage, whose issues centered largely on work performed for the Internet, lasted some 14 weeks and cost the local economy as much as $3 billion by some estimates.   Continued...

<p>The Hollywood Sign is seen between palm trees and snow dusted mountains in Los Angeles January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>