Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dec. 18: SAG May Wreck Itself With Strike Call In Bad Economy

By Sylvia Gurinsky

If you can't trust Laura Ingalls Wilder, who can you trust?

That would be actress Melissa Gilbert, whom America watched grow up in the 1970s and 80s on "Little House On the Prairie." Gilbert had an even more important role earlier this decade, as president of the Screen Actors Guild. In Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, Gilbert wrote an essay on why the organization should not take a strike vote now:,0,7412616.story

Currently, SAG President Alan Rosenberg has an ill-advised militancy on this issue. That would be OK if the economy was good, but it's not.

SAG isn't just a bunch of Hollywood actors and actresses on television and in the movies. It's members stretch all over the United States, and might be as likely to work in local commercials as in a major motion picture. If there is a strike, their chances of finding alternative work in this economy isn't great.

The same issues - DVD and Internet residuals, the shrinking television opportunities, and so forth - will still be there, waiting to be resolved, when the general economy does improve. And SAG's less affluent members will be in a better position to walk a picket line, knowing they do have some degree of backup.

Rosenberg's stance is dividing the union, and if there is a strike soon, could wreck it entirely. The word on a strike vote should be: Delay. Or two words: Long delay.

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