Instead of seeking a strike-authorization vote from members of the Screen Actors Guild, union leaders now intend to submit the final proposal of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to the union's membership with a "neutral" recommendation, SAG President Allen Rosenberg said on Thursday. Such a tactic had been suggested previously, notably by Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke, who has tended to support the so-called SAG hardliners, including Rosenberg and Executive Director Doug Allen. (Her accusation on Wednesday that coverage of the dispute by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times showed flagrant bias toward the studios prompted an angry retort from L.A. Times media columnist Patrick Goldstein today.) Previously the SAG leadership had disregarded the proposal and pushed for strike authorization. The new tactic was quickly rejected by Sam Freed, president of SAG's New York local, who told Daily Variety "It is irresponsible and cynical at best to suggest that the guild could send out a contract referendum to the members with a neutral recommendation. ... The guild, under the direction of Doug Allen, has spent the last eight months and hundreds of thousands of dollars of members' money criticizing the contract in an effort to manipulate the membership." And Ned Vaughn, a member of the union's moderate Unite for Strength faction, told Reuters that Rosenberg's tactic now was "puzzling" since "he's condemned this approach since the beginning." He added "The solution is new leadership."
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