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Guild Wars

Tom Short Says Sayonara to the IATSE

Tom Short.jpg
Thomas Short, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (that’s the guild representing all those unwashed below-the-line workers), yelled an outright “CUT” Thursday to his career atop the IATSE.
He offically retired, ending his 14-year stint as top man at the union.
Though he was a powerful negotiator and had strong opinions about union strength, Short had a checkered career with the IATSE, occasionally drawing the ire of other unions like the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. Short was frustated by the WGA during its 100-day strike this spring, because it delayed contract talks and the Guild refused to apologize for the strike’s economic impact.
But Short has always been a man of the people in the IATSE. The former Cleveland stagehand always had an open ear for any union member who had something to say.
On a studio tour that I accompanied him in the mid-1990s, Short went from studio to studio, glad-handing and taking note of working conditions.
“Don’t you just love these people,” he exclaimed at the end of the tour. “To me it’s so important to listen to what the union members have to say.”
Short will be replaced by IATSE executive Matthew D. Loeb, who has been an International VP since 2002. He was one of the labor execs credited with devising and implementing the organizing and bargaining strategices under Short.
“I am not leaving for political or for health reasons, but rather because I have learned that life is short and there is a great deal that I have yet to experience and enjoy,” Short said in a statement.
Short had a year left on his four-year term as president. Loeb has been in charge of the film and TV production units for the last decade.
Membership in the IATSE blossomed under Short, increasing more than 50% to cover more than 400 locals and more than 110,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
“I have put forth my energy and every effort to enrich this organization and enlisted the help of what I believe to be a phenomenal staff of intelligent, sophisticated and progressive individuals who have stood ready to work hard and assist in accomplishing the goals I believe we had to achieve in order to survive the many challenges facing this International,” he said.

Friction Among SAG Factions

vdfasdf4.jpgA new SAG slate, called United for Strength, wants to unseat the guild’s Membership First faction, make a deal with the studios, and merge SAG and AFTRA. Jonathan Handel examines the implications of what a United for Strength win could mean.

Good Morning FBLA Readers — The Morning AFTRA

The actor’s guilds are proving to be ‘unions’ in name only. Kind of like how reality show contestants get referred to as ‘talent’. Or anything TMZ covers as ‘news’. Misnomers.

Last night AFTRA ratified their contract leaving SAG with little to no leverage to get their demands met with the producers.

Here are the LAT, NYT, THR and Variety pieces.

Good news is a strike is seeming less and less likely.


sag-rally-100.jpgDeadline Hollywood Daily has the way-inside baseball scoop of what is really going down.

Good Morning FBLA Readers

Tonight at 12:01 AM, the SAG contract expires. So today, all the major newspapers have to cover what’s going on with SAG. The Washington Post runs a piece by staff writer William Booth that is a Q&A:

Wait — actors vs. actors. Sounds hot. What show are you talking about?

He clearly doesn’t have to spend any time around talent. We think maybe he was thinking ‘actresses’. But it’s still WaPo and kind of creepy.

LAT covers the SAG AFTRA rift. NYPost is reporting about the SAG prez. And NYT gets into the plight of the non-famous actors.

Okay actors – now you’ve gotten enough attention and you don’t need to strike.

Hard Act to Follow

What’s Going on with the SAG/AFTRA Contract?

sag1.jpgThe latest is – we don’t know. They’re still in negotiations. Who knows when they’ll resolve this? Not us. Not anyone.

What we do know is that entertainment writers have to project who the victims would be if a strike does happen.

From the LAT:

In the event of a strike, it would be among more than half a dozen current productions forced to shut down. They include sequels to such hits as “Night at the Museum” and “Transformers,” “The Da Vinci Code” follow-up “Angels & Demons” and a movie version of the Disney Channel series “Hannah Montana.”

Oh no – not the batch of uninspired, lukewarm SEQUELS!! Oh no – not them. Anything but them! Oh dear god – the humanity!

SAG and AFTRA Still Have No Contract, Willing to Work Without One

No resolution. Just rhetoric.

From the AP:

SAG Executive Director Doug Allen said in an e-mail to The Associated Press the union was hoping for an agreement soon but was prepared to keep negotiating into July.

“We’ve worked beyond the end of a contract before,” Allen said a day after guild leadership briefed members on the status of talks.

“We would much rather get an agreement done now,” he said. “But if management is stubborn and intransigent, that may lead us to the point where we’re negotiating beyond the end of the agreement.”

The studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, said in a statement that its bargaining team was “frustrated and discouraged” at the guild’s attitude.

It’s a nail biter! A cliffhanger! An eye roller…

SAG Wants AFTRA Not to Ratify Their New Contract

But AFTRA won’t according to an email by SAG president Alan Rosenberg sent to members today and posted by Nikki Finke:

Regrettably, AFTRA President Roberta Reardon and Executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth informed us by letter that AFTRA will not agree to a delay in their ratification schedule. I assure you, this is NOT about union politics. It is about using our combined leverage to achieve the best terms possible for actors — in both unions.

Oh actors…so dramatic.

Nikki, as usual has the full scoop.

Milken Institute Says Strikes Cost California Money

We’re no think tank here at FBLA. We’re just little posting monkeys passing the days laughing at our own jokes. Tra la la!

There are people that actually get paid to think about stuff – to analyze situations.

The analysis in the report notes that by 2009, the effect of the 2007 strike will be less noticeable. However, if another work stoppage occurs in the industry (at the time of the release, SAG was negotiating a contract), the impact will be felt for up to an additional year.

Yet we’ve come to the same conclusion. No work. No bananas.

In the Milken Institute also reports:

The 2007 Hollywood writers’ strike dealt a blow to California’s already struggling economy and is expected to result in a loss of 37,700 jobs and $2.1 billion in lost output through the end of 2008.

Send the bill to AMPTP…those monkey haters.