January 23, 2009 | 8:59 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Things are not going smoothly for SAG President Alan Rosenberg. He’s been trying, unsuccessfully, to unify his guild in order to renegotiate actor contracts. On the eve of the SAG awards, set for this Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter is forecasting “turmoil ahead”:
Since the Screen Actors Guild officially rejected the AMPTP’s “final offer” last July, SAG president Alan Rosenberg has been a man under siege, enduring an endless barrage of attacks on his character and his competence. He’s lost weight and many hours of sleep.
While viewers will be focused on the stars at Sunday’s 15th annual SAG Awards, insiders will be watching Rosenberg, studying his body language, seeing if he is in any mood to compromise. As for Rosenberg, he’ll have to break bread with some of his mortal enemies. His mood may be even blacker than his tie.
Friday was meant to be the day that Rosenberg was going to find out if guild members would support his request for strike authorization. Instead, he and his main ally, chief negotiator Doug Allen, had to delay sending out the ballots at press time, following pressure from dissenting board members who even tried to have Allen ousted. The strike-authorization vote could be tabled for good and replaced by a possible vote on AMPTP’s previously discarded June 30 contract proposal.
“We have people on our board—even on our negotiating committee—who have vowed never to strike again, from now until the end of time,” Rosenberg complains. “They’ll do anything to demonize me and demonize Doug.”
What Rosenberg’s future will be if he doesn’t win this battle is anyone’s guess. He has managed to infuriate the men who lord over Hollywood and split a guild that has usually been supportive of its leaders. No matter what the cost to his own career, he remains convinced about the rightness of the negotiating points he has so long defended—especially how much the other side should pay for new media.
“They’re going to change from one platform—where they have to pay actors—to another one where they don’t,” he insists. “And they’re using the bad economy and the Writers Guild strike to scare the hell out of our members. And that’s a shame.”
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