An Actor and An Attorney Look at Strike

I'm a unionist. I'm with SAG/AFTRA as a non-member refusing to scab. So a word, please.

Union busting by ANA/AAAA? Impossible. If gains don't match ad growth the unions could be deflated, but never defeated.

Nothing can be off the table. If big buyouts are worth big income, health and pension benefits, this can't be ignored. It could end monitoring.

Crossing? Never. But unions' words are harsh on we nons, calling us inferior, but all were non before they were not. Many are loyal. The unions are ours, too—our future—earning our way like all who are in now.

I volunteered for SAG, refusing an 80-hour card, but heard nothing. I understand. The captains are full up and I live two hours from my pro market in Kansas City. I saw actors accept awards from Blockbuster Video on national TV the week Blockbuster called a scab shoot in K.C. I refused work, wondering how many stars in my union were even aware.

So the unions need to temper words about nons being disloyal, inferior product. There is talent in this pool, respect for the lines and a sense of what has been earned.

Exclusion? For violating trust, yes. I know refusing work is easy and the first step in respecting your own principles.

Tireless leaders, members and nons alike, we've earned the trust of each other by now. We should show it in what we say—for next spring and a future we all share.

Mark H. Ridgway

Brookfield, MO

That the commercials contract settlement discussion (or lack thereof) should come at a time when the Association of National Advertisers are enjoying their greatest profits is incomprehensible.

To offer a sum of money equal to the C.O.L. [Cost of Living] increase means no increase in the contemplated multi-year agreement. Even the U.S. Government automatically pays Social Security payees an annual C.O.L. increase. To change the formula for settlement by removing the traditional net-per-play formula is incredulous. What is unfair bargaining was the ANA's refusal to come to the bargaining table…until now.

First, I propose we invite CNN's Larry King, or the public talk show hosts like Jay Leno, Tim Russert and/or Barbara Walters, to interview both sides. Let the interviewers allow both sides the opportunity to bring the facts out.

If the above fails to gel because ANA refuses to participate, the next step is to bring about binding arbitration legislation, since this involves the public interest. The same situation existed in the State of Pennsylvania when I introduced a constitutional amendment called the "Binding Arbitration Act for Policemen and Firemen." Its passage resulted in no delays by management or abrupt denials to meet, and the wages and fringe benefits responded substantially. This Pennsylvania act has been used as a model in many states and has been accepted by both management and labor.

You can know if the ANA seeks a ridiculous change, the impartial arbitrator will bring about a reward that will be great for SAG and AFTRA.

Howard Richard, Esq.

New York, NY