Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Evening News

B&B's Susan Flannery Tries To Set AFTRA-SAG Record Straight
From: Susan Flannery of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Re: Statement of events leading up to AFTRA leaving Phase 1 and excluding itself from joint negotiations with SAG (Per Ms Flannery's instructions, this letter is to be distributed to the SAG National Board.)

April 14,2008
To the members of SAG:

The sequence of events is as follows. Shortly after the first cast discussions of leaving AFTRA, Bill Thomas and David Basbaris (AFTRA) called me & asked if there was any substance to rumors of a petition for decertification. There was NO PETITION since we didn't even know we required to have one. Talk about being "Babes in the Woods". I explained to Bill and David that we were only in the early stages of discussions. I gave them my word of honor that we would meet with AFTRA before any final decisions were made.

David and I have a long union relationship, so I felt comfortable that he would take me at my word. I also informed them that we would meet with SAG. There were 3 or 4 phone calls over the next 2 weeks between us about these matters, including a request for a copy of the contract between AFTRA and B& B and setting a meeting with AFTRA. The cast subsequently did in fact meet over 2 evenings with Roberta Reardon and Kim Roberts Hedgepath.

Just so everyone understands, the idea of exploring the possibility for a new 'Collective Bargaining Agent" began with me. There has been over the past 21 years at B&B a growing dissatisfaction with AFTRA regarding health plans, residuals, pensions, meal penalties, turnarounds etc. In the final analysis, the contracts negotiated on our behalf over the years, in our opinion, have fallen very short of our expectations!

Because we still live in a democracy, and have choices, more internal meetings with the cast took place, and the decision to begin exploratory conversations to seek a different Collective Bargaining Agent began in earnest. As members in good standing with Screen Actors Guild, my co-star (of 21 years) John MCCook and I met with SAG National Director Doug Allen & SAG President Allen Rosenberg to ask what our options were. We did not, as has been reported, complain bitterly about AFTRA. We only wanted to know if it were possible for SAG to take us into the fold. However, reality quickly interverned. Doug informed us and rightly so, that any complaints we had regarding AFTRA should be brought to their attention by us.

We acknowledged that, and informed him that we were in the process of setting up meetings with AFTRA for just that purpose.

However, we were already in our minds beyond that point. We never approached this issue out of anger, we simply felt we needed, in the larger view of things, a more focused, stronger, and realistic approach to the changing world of television, and the industry as a whole as it is affected by new media.

Now to the issue of who is truly putting the brakes on our ability to pick the union we choose to represent us. THE AFL-CIO and their part in all of this. According to the AFL-CIO, there is a "side bar" agreement that prevents a group of union workers in good standing from leaving one union and going to another without suffering a 2-year suspension (waiting period) before their union of choice can accept them. Talk about an ANTI-UNION clause! This agreement withholds from union members the protection of a union shop and collective bargaining agent of their choice..... in this case, SAG.

When was this agreed to? When was this issued and why? Why would anyone vote to support, and or accept this concept? A cooling off period ? The National Labor Relations Board and their 42-day waiting period provide that caveat... 42 days to cool off and re-think, before making a final decision to decertify. So we have to ask? What is the real agenda for the AFL-CIO in imposing that 2 yr waiting period? Does this not create a genuine hardship for union members? Has this, among other issues, created an atmosphere and perception amongst union workers that they are not best served by the AFL-CIO?

It seems that as movements continue to grow, the institution becomes more important then the members it represents. Is that what we and other unions affiliated with them are experiencing with the AFL-CIO? I called John Sweeny in Washington DC twice to discuss this rule or regulation and even to plead for a waiver, and he has yet to extend the courtesy of a phone call.

It is time to accomplish something positive and meaningful for the working actor in their affliations with Labor Organizations. "Freedom of Choice" is a good beginning. Who we choose to represent us, and our best interests, should be up to us!

Susan Flannery

Interview with the INTURNS
The third season of INTURN debuted yesterday — Soap Opera Digest was there for their big introduction on (the very cold) location at Prospect Park in Brooklyn and chatted with the contestants right before their very first audition. An interesting note is that Audra Wahhab tried out for the role of Ameera but lost the part to Tala Ashe.

Photo op: Marcy Rylan, Cruella meet up at Disney World
Actress Marcy Rylan strikes a pose with the Cruella De Vil character near Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom this week. There's a method to this pairing: Rylan plays trouble-making Lizzie Spaulding on CBS' GUIDING LIGHT although we're pretty sure Lizzie never made a coat out of dalmatians. She has been vacationing at Walt Disney World. (Photo by Garth Vaughan / Walt Disney World).

Hawk returns to GL on May 1st
Per Soap Opera Weekly, Gil Rogers returns to GUIDING LIGHT on May 1 to make Reva a star-powered offer she can't refuse. His return has sparked buzz among fans who wonder if his return will be for a few episodes or for an extended run similar to recent runs from favorites David Andrew Macdonald (ex-Edmund) and Tom Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan). A GL said, "Gil is a recurring character who can come and go as the story dictates," and in a recent interview, GL head writer David Kreizman confirms, "Hawk will be around, and he'll definitely be part of [Reva's] story."

Crystal Chappell interview
After creating memorable roles on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Crystal Chappell created one of the most dynamic soap opera women in daytime history when she joined GUIDING LIGHT in 1999. Olivia Spencer has been involved with both a father and a son, twice, as well as with a man and his nephew, all the while being a smart business woman and a vulnerable unique heroine.

Of all her soap roles, Olivia is her favorite. "I loved the experience and character on DAYS. All my daytime experiences have been very educational and productive, but Olivia is the more challenging and interesting role."

Yikes! Sex tips from Ian Beale
In tomorrow's EASTENDERS Steven Beale is desperate to bed gobby Stacey Branning but his lack of experience is letting him down.

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