Joseph Di Sante states in his letter (“Vote could have profound
implications,” Burbank Leader, June 11) that “most of the information
out there is misinformation supplied by the ‘no’ advocates, who just
may be feeling their little fiefdoms are about to come to an end.”
It is that same arrogance Mr. Di Sante and the leadership of
Screen Actor’s Guild displays that has my blood boiling. The issue to
merge has been around for many years. Now, instead of “merger,” it is
being presented to the membership as “consolidation.” Sounds much
nicer, doesn’t it?
This most recent attempt at “merger” is being rammed down the
throats of members from coast to coast. Sold to us for millions of
our union dollars by some high-priced political PR firm (GMMB).
I would ask Mr. Di Sante, if this is such a great deal for the
membership, why the hard sell? Why no “minority report” included in
our ballots so members can have both sides of the issue? The biggest
vote in the history of our guild and no opportunity for a dissenting
opinion? What about the Mercer Report? A report commissioned by the
trustees of the SAG producer’s pension and health plan, which was set
up to study if merging the SAG/AFTRA pension and health plans was
feasible. That’s not important information for the membership to have
prior to a vote? Come on, Joe -- it’s a little bit more than just
losing the SAG and AFTRA logos. Maybe in his personal life Joe Di
Sante has no problem with signing over a blank check to folks he does
business with, but not me. The union is asking for a “yes” vote today
and telling me to “trust” that they’ll take care of the problem
tomorrow. No thank you.
Mr. Di Sante and the pro-merger forces would have the membership
believe that “a bigger union is a better union.” In his letter, he
states, “Corporate Hollywood is waiting for these talent unions to go
under and they are quietly thriving on the confusion most members are
presently dealing with over this merger.” I would only suggest Mr. Di
Sante look at the Directors Guild as an example of how powerful a
union can be without necessarily being bigger. Are we to believe that
the Directors Guild is next in line on the “Hollywood Hit List” after
SAG and AFTRA? I doubt it.
As a long-time member who is vested in both SAG and AFTRA, I have
very real concerns about the future of my pension and heath plans
should these two unions now merge. My family, yes; my fiefdom, no.
One of the greatest days in my life was when I got my SAG card
back in 1977. Now, we stand on the eve of what could very well be the
last vote in the history of the Screen Actor’s Guild. The ballots are
in the mail and are due back at the end of the month. I would urge
any member out there that has not yet made up their mind, to educate
yourself. Read the literature. Go to www.savesag.com to read the
minority report before you cast your vote. But please vote.