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SAG Gets Tough with Scabs

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The Screen Actors Guild strike may be gone, but it is not forgotten. Last week SAG took steps to punish performers who made filmed or taped advertisements during last year's commercial strike.

SAG explicitly named four of its members who it said violated union rules against performing struck work, and heard cases where two non-members were accused of crossing picket lines. And according to SAG spokesperson Greg Krizman, the process will continue through the summer.

Union trial boards (comprised of three current or former members of the National Board of Directors or other members authorized by the President's Office to preside over strike-related hearings) heard the charges against SAG members Ben Brunkow, Kevin Buzzard, David Gene Garrison, and Steve Perkins. When the members were found guilty of performing struck work, SAG published their names in its newsletter, Hollywood Call Sheet. Earlier the guild identified members Elizabeth Hurley and Tiger Woods as strikebreakers. A seventh suspected strikebreaker was not named, pending the expiration of that performer's appeal time.

The penalties available to the trial boards are reprimand, censure, fine, suspension from the rights of membership, and a recommendation to the National Board of Directors that the member be expelled from the guild. The union has not said what penalties it imposed upon Brunkow, Buzzard, Garrison, and Perkins. Hurley and Woods were both hit with $100,000 fines, although half of Woods' fine was suspended and will only be reinstated if he performs struck work in the next five years.

Two non-members were also ordered to appear before a five-person review board investigating charges that they had crossed SAG picket lines. The panel found that no sanctions were merited against one actor, whose name was not released. The other performer, Christine Blackburn, was found to have filmed numerous advertisements.

The panel recommended withholding union membership from Blackburn for five years.

Krizman said in a statement that the review committee has scheduled additional hearings through June. "The ongoing hearing process recognizes the sacrifice and effort of SAG members who were unable to pursue work during the six-month-long strike against advertisers," he said, "by preventing those who unjustly took advantage of the work stoppage from enjoying the benefits of guild membership."

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