Legal move halts talks for new actors' contract

Tue Feb 3, 2009 12:03am EST
 
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By Andrew Salomon and Jay A. Fernandez

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Like a horror movie with one false ending after another, the Screen Actors Guild story continues to twist and turn but refuses to bend toward resolution.

National president Alan Rosenberg and first vice president Anne-Marie Johnson notified the guild Monday that they are seeking legal action, industry sources said, effectively halting the resumption of talks for a new TV/film contract between the performers union and Hollywood producers that were to have begun Tuesday morning.

SAG said Monday in announcing the indefinite postponement of negotiations, "Screen Actors Guild today notified the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers that the guild had received a notice of intent to file a complaint (Tuesday)."

Rosenberg and Johnson's move further escalates a brutal internecine battle within the union, one that has seen a 28-hour, all-night national board meeting; the removal of the guild's national executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen; and the disbanding of its negotiating committee by written decree.

Rosenberg and Johnson's unspecified legal maneuver, a source said, seeks to reinstate Allen, who was replaced by interim national executive director David White and chief negotiator John McGuire. Board moderates attempted to remove Allen and replace the negotiating committee at the marathon board meeting last month, but Rosenberg and his MembershipFirst allies on the board effectively staged a filibuster, preventing it from being voted on.

Two weeks later, board moderates fired Allen by written assent, a document signed by a 52.5 percent majority of board members.

NO TALKS FOR MONTHS

Representatives from SAG and the AMPTP were to meet Tuesday for the first time in more than two months to take yet another crack at cutting a deal for a new three-year TV/theatrical contract.   Continued...