Ruling: SAG Dissidents Can’t Reinstate Allen5 Feb, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant Feb. 5 denied a request by dissident board members from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), headed by president Alan Rosenberg, for a temporary restraining order seeking to reinstate chief negotiator Doug Allen. The order would have invalidated the SAG national board majority’s written assent of Jan. 26 that resulted in the termination of Allen.
Judge James Chalfant denied the order on the grounds that the plaintiffs had no probability of success on the merits of their claims, according to a statement released by SAG.
As a result, the SAG national board of directors Feb. 7 will meet jointly with representatives from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the union representing studios, to discuss a new contract.
“I’m pleased that we can put this matter behind us and dedicate our complete focus to the needs of Screen Actors Guild members,” said David White, SAG interim national executive director, in a statement. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us.”
Rosenberg, together with Anne-Marie Johnson, Diane Ladd and Kent McCord, had sought to void a coup last month by a majority of SAG board members that resulted in the termination of Allen and placement of a new negotiating team, headed by senior advisor John McGuire.
Actors have been operating under an interim agreement since the previous contract expired last June.
Rosenberg, in an e-mail to SAG members last month, decried the manner in which Allen was dismissed by a slim majority of the board.
“I believe I do speak for the nearly 48% percent of the board who are deeply concerned about what was done yesterday and about how these changes were accomplished,” he wrote. “Allen was fired because he was simply too good, too strong, and too much a unionist.”
Rosenberg said Allen’s refusal to engage in “pattern bargaining,” whereby SAG would agree to previous labor agreements between writers, directors, stage workers and daytime TV actors and the AMPTP, doomed him with some members of the board.
Rosenberg has argued actors should receive a better deal for new media, a stance he’s taken believing SAG members have been short-changed for years in DVD residuals.