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AFTRA & SAG: So Much For Solidarity
March 31, 2008
By Bobbin Beam
Voice Actor, & Member: AFTRA & SAG

Imagine my (no) surprise when I read in the Los Angeles Times about the 11th hour move by AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to sever joint negotiations with SAG (Screen Actors Guild) for the upcoming film and television contracts. (Also see AFTRA's Weekend Bombshell on VoiceOverXtra.)

Funny. Now SAG is crying "Wolf". Last year, SAG's National Board initiated the gauntlet toss game when it voted to dissolve the Phase One negotiating pact. Now AFTRA is calling it quits.

After numerous failed attempts to merge the two unions over the years, the last one created the great schism, which has become an all-out WAR. Even John Sweeney, head of the AFL-CIO failed to mediate these siblings, my brothers and sisters.

Strange bedfellows: Several members sit on both National Boards, and about 44,000 are members of both unions.

The AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) must be jumping for joy. This news falls neatly into the studio's hands, and they are ready to start talks as early as this week. Divide and conquer. Unfortunately, the actors unions did most of their work for them.

There was also some good advice in this morning's paper found in syndicated columnist John Rosemond's reply to a mother who didn't know how to handle her bickering, fighting children. He told her to not get involved, as it invites the perceived villain and victim to further clash, making problems worse.

Instead, Rosemond suggests sitting each of them down in separate rooms for one-half hour, during which time they would do well to contemplate how they can help bring about world peace.
Bobbin Beam is a very active voice talent, specializing in projects for broadcast and business. She also writes an informative industry blog. She has been a member of AFTRA and SAG since the mid-1980s, has served as local AFTRA president, and was also the San Diego, CA Local’s hired Executive Director for nearly five years.

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