Screen Actors Guild leaders backed their negotiating committee's rejection of a contract offer by studio officials with an unanimous vote Saturday that presented a united front after days of publicized internal dissent.
Board members said in their resolution, passed 68-0, that union jurisdiction over Internet and other new-media productions and residuals for made-for-new media programs were a "core principle" of the guild.
"This sends a very strong message to the members and the industry that these two issues are essential and must be addressed in any agreement with management," SAG national executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen told the Associated Press.
The studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, made what they have called their final offer on June 30, when the three-year SAG contract expired.
In a statement issued after the guild vote, the AMPTP said the agreement rejected by guild negotiators would have offered new media compensation and rights not present in the actors' last contract.
"The continued refusal of SAG's negotiators to accept AMPTP's final offer means that actors will continue to work indefinitely under the expired contract — an old contract that contains none of the $250 million in additional compensation provided by AMPTP's final offer, and an old contract that provides none of the new media rights and residuals that other Hollywood Guild members have now been enjoying for months," the AMPTP said.
SAG has disputed AMPTP's compensation figure and said the deal falls short in pay and union jurisdiction on made-for-Internet productions.
The offer mirrors those previously accepted by writers, directors and by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the smaller actors union. SAG had urged AFTRA members to reject the deal.
Saturday's unanimous vote portrayed the union leadership as steadfast and unified on union jurisdiction and residual pay days after 31 actors dissatisfied with the stalled contract talks said they had joined to campaign for seats on SAG's board of directors.
The actors, who include Kate Walsh and Amy Brenneman of TV's "Private Practice," are running under the name Unite for Strength.
The group is challenging the leadership of MembershipFirst, the group that supported guild president Alan Rosenberg's successful election campaign three years ago, when he ran on a platform promising tougher negotiations with Hollywood's studios.
MembershipFirst released its slate of 33 possible candidates Friday, which include Scott Bakula, Keith Carradine, Charles Shaughnessy and Joely Fisher. Twenty-two incumbents to the board listed on the slate include Justine Bateman, Nancy Sinatra, JoBeth Williams and Joe Bologna.