With labor talks between the Screen Actors Guild and the Joint Policy Committee for Talent Union Negotiations (JPC), strained to the point where one union source described the conflict by comparing it to World War I, SAG has changed its strategy to include a strong public affairs campaign.
Evidence of this was seen at New York City Hall on July 27 when NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone introduced a council resolution "in support of striking members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)."
Vallone called upon NYC Mayor Giuliani to "prohibit the filming of struck commercial work on city property and to release public information regarding commercial filming permits on a daily, rather than weekly, basis."
The resolution, similar to those already passed in Chicago and still pending before Los Angeles Mayor Riordin, would close a loophole for commercial advertisers who apply for late filming permits and then complete non-union shoots before SAG is even made aware of the work in weekly advisories from the city. Daily advisories, the union says, would allow it to respond to non-union work and establish picket lines.
Vallone was joined at a July 27 news conference by actors Jerry Orbach (the original Fantasticks, “Law and Order"), Barbara Feldon ("Agent 99” on the '60s TV series “Get Smart,”) actor Bill Irwin, Ed Ott of the New York Central Labor Council, and City Councilmembers Kathryn Freed, Herbert Berman, Victor Robles and Jerome O’Donovan. The SAG strike is just under three-months-old and involves approximately 135,000 professional SAG and AFTRA members. As reported earlier, SAG is striking over protecting its established residuals system, and setting up some form of Internet royalty plan.
-- By Murdoch McBride