'm joining Jacqueline Bisset, Nicolas Cage, Michael Imperioli, Gena Rowlands, and many others in supporting Seymour Cassel for national president of the Screen Actors Guild. Why? Because of the inaction of our current administration.
More than 30,000 actors have joined SAG via the three-voucher system and 2,000 more continue to join each year, swelling the size of our membership and outpacing any hope of job availability. [The current] SAG leaders made a campaign promise to do something about that two years ago, but they did nothing.
They've done nothing about AFTRA, which has spent the past two years taking over almost all of the scripted programming on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, Comedy Central, Lifetime, and other basic-cable networks. Some of these AFTRA contracts pay actors as little as $341 for two days' work and no residuals for at least a year (if ever). By contrast, SAG contracts pay $759 per day and residuals on every rerun.
SAG leaders, who have done nothing about this for two years, are suddenly talking about doing something about AFTRA in the next few weeks. Coincidence? No. This is happening now because of Seymour Cassel, who has made this his No. 1 campaign issue, embarrassing the current leaders as they try to get re-elected.
Other campaign promises made and broken: We aren't any closer to a deal with agents than we were two years ago, and we aren't any closer to a viable commercials monitoring system.
In previous negotiations, SAG decided to "wait" before getting fair residuals on basic cable and fair residuals on home video/DVDs. The result? We're still waiting. And actors everywhere are struggling to make a living because of it. Considering their record, can we count on the current administration not to wait before securing residuals on media using new technologies? There is a solution.
For six years I've worked with Seymour Cassel as a national board member and on numerous committees. Seymour has stepped forward to run for only one reason: Things are going nowhere at the guild and he knows that he can make a difference as SAG president. He has already made a huge difference and he is only a presidential candidate.
We need Seymour because he is a man who has the respect and admiration of actors from every generation. He is someone who can't be bullied. He is someone who has always been decisive and is well-known for his straight talk. And when you look at the actors endorsing him, you realize that he can bring clout, star power, and leverage to the negotiating table.
There isn't anyone running who is more qualified to be SAG president. We can't afford to wait any longer. Please join me and vote for Seymour Cassel for SAG president. He will get the job done now.
Screen Actors Guild national board member, Hollywood branch
am supporting Alan Rosenberg for president of the Screen Actors Guild. I have observed Alan in action and under pressure. As a board member, Alan has been a thoughtful and deliberative leader. He is an articulate advocate whose contributions consistently serve to move the debate forward. That has not been my experience with any of the other current candidates.
In the past two years, under Alan's presidency, there has been a great deal of progress on many fronts. Unlike any previous presidents of the guild, Alan was called on to perform the duties of both president and national executive director. He has undertaken this combined responsibility with unflagging dedication, and he has earned the trust and support of our very capable professional staff.
Alan played a key role in the successful search for our new national executive director: He has built a strong bond with Doug Allen, a bond that will serve us well in upcoming negotiations.
Alan has taken the time to familiarize himself with the complexities of the agency representation issues and has put forward thoughtful initiatives designed to end this seemingly endless impasse.
Alan participated in successful basic cable, basic-cable cartoon, and commercial agreements.
Alan has vigorously supported the Film and Television Action Committee in their attempts to level the playing field around the world when market-distorting foreign incentives induce productions to leave the country. Alan has worked hard to fight runaway production. For the last six years, we have sought production retention legislation in California, and despite having a member as the governor of the state, the Legislature has repeatedly turned a blind eye to our needs. Our union put on a full-court press on this issue. Alan was front and center in our attempts to keep work in the state. It will serve us well to have Alan leading our delegation when we return to Sacramento to move this issue forward.
We've added two departments, Organizing and New Media, hired a director of research, and launched iActor—all important components to the membership as we move forward in the 21st century. Alan has played a part in all these initiatives.
Looking back over my 35 years of guild service, I can't remember a time when we didn't have strong differences of opinion and controversy. But when it has counted most, Alan has stood tall in defense of our membership.
Alan has attempted, with all his considerable heart and soul, to unify us heading into 2008, possibly the most important year in the history of the Screen Actors Guild. Alan has no illusions about what the job entails. His commitment is unwavering, his experience is invaluable, and his intelligence is inspiring.
For these reasons, Alan Rosenberg has my support.
Screen Actors Guild 1st vice president
s a background actor for the past seven years, I want better representation and terms for background actors, who make up the vast majority of the Screen Actors Guild.
I am an independent, not a member of a narrow faction.
I want everyone in SAG treated the same.
I believe background actors should not be subjected to low wages, have their jobs taken by nonunion people, be forced to use segregated bathrooms and lunch counters, and have to provide their own clothes to subsidize a multibillion-dollar movie and TV industry.
A background actor has to prove they are entitled to an upgrade when the studio has all the dailies and all the money and all the power. Guess who wins? The Screen Actors Guild should stand by the background actor, just like the Teamsters union stands by a driver.
But we are "untouchables." People don't speak to us, or touch us, or see us.
Imagine you walk into your place of work and are confronted with a sign that says, "No blacks beyond this door." What would you do? Would you say, "Oh well, that's life," and accept it? Or would you want to tear down that sign? Now imagine you are black.
Imagine you walk into your place of work and are confronted with a sign that says, "No Jews beyond this door." What would you do? Would you say, "Oh well, that's life," and accept it? Or would you want to tear down that sign? Now imagine you are Jewish.
Who knew that the Hollywood blacklist is alive and well today?
Try complaining about your treatment and you will find yourself on it. Ask any background actor.
Why should only 1 percent of actors earn enough to qualify for health insurance? Why should only 1 percent of actors get jobs? Money? Lines? Fame? Glory? Trailers? Parking? Wardrobe? Agents? Managers? Residuals? Mileage? Why is there prejudice within the Screen Actors Guild? Why do our brothers and sisters not even see us? Why do they treat lepers better than us? Why won't they change?
In the coming contract negotiations, background actors need a president who is not afraid to aim high. Vote for me and I will change that. Vote for me and I will tear down that sign. Vote for me and you will get your chance.
Dare to dream,
Candidate for national president of the Screen Actors Guild