SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher responded Thursday to the suggestion that a group of high-profile actors led by George Clooney made earlier this week in hopes of resuming talks with studios.
In her statement posted on Instagram, the actress thanked the celebrities as a group and Clooney by name for the suggestion
“First of all, I would like to thank some of the members we have in this company in the cloud for the enormous amount of money they have contributed to our foundation. On behalf of all striking members who are particularly in need,” she said.
“I would also like to thank George Clooney for organizing the suggestion that we bring this up [payment] Contributions are capped so that the highest earners can contribute,” she continued. “And although that is extremely generous, [and] We graciously accept this, this will not affect the contract we enter into.”
Drescher explained that because SAG-AFTRA is a federally regulated organization, “the only contributions that can go into our pension and health funds must come from the employer.” Therefore, she added, these benefits must flow from the contract, which they ultimately close with the studios.
“It’s kind of apples and oranges,” Drescher said, “just so everyone understands.”
Drescher also said that SAG-AFTRA’s lawyers and contract negotiators rejected Clooney’s residual proposal. “They said unfortunately it doesn’t hold water,” she said.
Drescher said the guild greatly appreciates the A-listers’ “desire for support,” but assured that SAG-AFTRA is “still waiting for the CEOs to return to the table so we can continue our discussions.”
By withdrawing from talks, she continued, the studios were “not really in negotiations. And walking away from the table is not only very indecent but also unlawful.”
Drescher claimed that the guild members “are very strong in our solidarity” and that they have “cracked the code” regarding the “error” in calculating compensation in the streaming model. And that’s why, she argued, the union should stand firm until the studios return to the negotiating table. She also noted that the guild plans to stick with its per-subscriber fee proposal, which the studios objected to last week.
She concluded by thanking “all members and our strike leaders who were out there every day in bad weather protecting our picket lines across the national bargaining committee board,” adding, “This too shall pass.” But this is the moment we won’t give in to the pressure. This is the moment we stand tall and remain steadfast. As Frederick Douglass said, power does nothing unless it has a demand, which it never has and never will have.”
Clooney’s proposal includes lifting the $1 million cap on contributions to SAG-AFTRA and would restructure the payment process for actors so that a production’s lowest-paid actors would be first to receive the remaining checks.
In a statement first sent to Deadline, Clooney estimated that lifting the cap would generate $50 million annually for SAG-AFTRA, which could be used to fund programs to support guild members in financial difficulty.
The proposal was presented to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland in a virtual meeting Tuesday with Clooney and several top actors in Hollywood, including Tyler Perry, Ben Affleck and Emma Stone.
The actors expressed concern about the impact the guild’s ongoing strike is having on working-class actors and crew members and raised questions about the sticking points between the guild and the studios, according to people familiar with the conversations.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke off talks last Wednesday and publicly released its latest proposal to the guild – a move almost identical to the one when talks between the AMPTP and the Writers Guild of America began in late August Stalled before they resumed and a deal was reached weeks later.
The AMPTP claimed that SAG-AFTRA’s proposal would impose a $1 per streaming service subscriber levy on the union, which would in turn distribute that money to actors. The studios also claimed that the total cost of the contract was over $800 million and would “impose an unsustainable economic burden.”
SAG-AFTRA, in a memo to members, accused AMPTP of misrepresenting the cost of its proposed contract and revenue-sharing proposal, which the guild estimated at $480 million at a payment of 57 cents per subscriber.
“These companies refuse to protect artists from being replaced by AI, they refuse to raise their wages to keep up with inflation, and they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue that THEIR “We have taken major, meaningful countermeasures on our part, including completely revamping our revenue sharing proposal, which would cost companies less than 57 cents per subscriber each year,” the guild’s negotiating committee wrote.
Source : www.thewrap.com