Hollywood's major actors union has decided to postpone a controversial
vote among its members over whether to allow its leaders to call a strike after
its failure to reach a new contract with major studios, a union leader said
In an email letter to the union's board members, Doug Allen, executive
director of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), said leaders agreed to push back the
strike authorization vote until after the board holds a special meeting on
He said the special meeting would "address the unfortunate division and
The union's 120,000 members, mostly in Los Angeles and New York, were earlier
scheduled to vote on the planned strike referendum next month, with ballots
going out on January 2.
If the authorization is affirmed by 75 percent of those members voting, SAG
could then go on strike when its national board decides to do so.
But the decision to hold a strike authorization vote is facing mounting
opposition from many of the union's own members, who question the wisdom of such
a move in the midst of a deep economic recession.
More than 130 high-profile actors, including Tom Hanks, Robert Redford and
George Clooney, have also urged the union's leadership to reconsider its
However, the union's leadership said that a strike authorization vote is
necessary to give them leverage in contract negotiations with Hollywood major
studios that have stalled for months.
Nearly 100 famous actors, including Mel Gibson and former SAG President Ed
Asner, have declared their support for the SAG leadership, the union said.
A strike by actors would become the second Hollywood strike in more than one
year after the 100-day work stoppage by writers beginning on November 5 last
year, which cost the Los Angeles area economy as much as US$2 billion and left
tens of thousands of people jobless.