As a veteran working actor it frustrates me that we even have to discuss the concept of weighted voting and marginalizing our fellow members…but unless we change our union jurisdictional philosophy it may become necessary. It goes against every ounce of philosophical fairness by which I’ve lived my life, however, our Guild is unique and its unionized value is different. My personal alternative would be to begin finally discussing jurisdictional re-alignment within our two Unions, but for now that is a subject for another day.
The world’s economy and technology have forever changed our industry, how we are employed, and our product is created/distributed. We are unlike any other unionized group in the U.S., and it has its pros and cons.
We simply have too many members of SAG, who for many reasons, are not very involved with their union and its issues. This isn’t a judgment, simply a fact. Too many members who booked one job by happenstance or special circumstance now have no active interest in being a paid professional. And sadly too many members, by virtue of the voucher system, have gotten their SAG card…but in all honesty are not actively focused on getting consistent principal work.
The time may be upon us, for the betterment of all SAG members, that the voting be weighted and allow those members who have the most to lose, as well as the most regular experience engaging in and working with our agreements, to have the most strength when it comes to voting. Remember our strength for 70 years, until recently, came from the percentage of the top name performers who could go on strike and truly shut Hollywood down. We’ve lost that and the Studios and Networks know it. To continually move us all forward we need Cruise, Hanks, Penn, Robbins, Streep, Nicholson, Carey, Smith and all other A-Listers to want to cast a vote and be involved in the leverage negotiation of our work contract and residual payments.
A union divided by apathy, and inactivity, is nothing more than a social group.
My best always,
Kevin E. West – President/Founder