The Screen Actors Guild national board on Sunday voted to approve a new two-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers -- but by a margin so slim that it raised questions about whether it would be approved by the overall membership. The agreement, which passed by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, differed little from the last, final offer from the AMPTP except that it will remain in force only until 2011 instead of 2012, thereby allowing SAG to coordinate a successor agreement with other industry unions. It will be submitted to membership with arguments for and against ratification. "I urge members to carefully review both pros and cons in the referendum materials and exercise their right to vote," SAG President Alan Rosenberg said in the official statement announcing what the union called a "tentative" contract. In reporting on the deal, the Los Angeles Times said that it resulted from so-called back-channel talks between SAG officials and Disney's Robert Iger, News Corp's Peter Chernin, and Warner Bros.' Barry Meyer. The newspaper commented that since it is "largely similar to the one" the studios had demanded, it is "certain to raise questions about what the union accomplished by holding out so long." On her influential blog, industry commentator Nikki Finke commented that the SAG "national majority" is "counting on the 'exhaustion' factor to ensure passage that SAG members are so tired of how long it's taken to reach a deal that they'll 'Vote Yes' just to end the prolonged process."

20/04/2009