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Hollywood actors union to mobilize members before strike vote
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08:42, December 09, 2008

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Hollywood's major actors union will hold a town hall meeting Monday night to mobilize its members as the union prepares to seek a strike authorization vote.

The members-only meeting comes as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)girds itself for a possible strike early next year against major Hollywood studios represented by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

"This town hall meeting will give Hollywood members an update on the negotiations and a chance to ask questions about the upcoming strike authorization ballot referendum," the union told its members through its website.

Several rounds of negotiations between SAG and AMPTP had failed to reach a new three-year contract as the actors union had been demanding that the studios give it a better deal than other unions of Hollywood professionals like writers and directors received.

SAG, which has more than 120,000 members across the United States, in particular wants an increase in the DVD residuals rate, which has long been rejected by the studios.

Movie studios last week published a full-page advertisement in the Los Angeles Times, accusing the actors union of jeopardizing the work of other unions in the entertainment industry by threatening a strike.

Presidents of eight studios said in the advertisement that SAG was demanding the entire industry literally throw out all its hard work because the union believed it deserves more than the 230,000 other people working in the industry.

Although SAG has yet to announce schedules for the strike authorization vote, industry observers said the union might conduct a vote-by-mail on a strike authorization late December, and then try to reach a deal with AMPTP one last time in January.

That means a strike is possible in February, in time to disrupt the Academy Awards show scheduled for Feb. 22 in Kodak Theater. Such a strike would be the second major Hollywood strike in nearly one year after the 100-day work stoppage by writers.

The Writers Guild of America strike that began Nov. 5 last year cost the Los Angeles area economy as much as 2 billion U.S. dollars and left tens of thousands of people without jobs, local officials said.


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