SAG strike delayed

Screen Actors Guild delays strike vote over mobile and Internet distribution royalties.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The leadership of the Screen Actors Guild delayed a strike vote Monday and scheduled an emergency meeting for January over the union's failure to negotiate a new contract with producers.

SAG members are deeply divided over whether to authorize a strike. Any strike vote would require a 75% majority.

Strike ballots were originally scheduled to go out in early January, but will now wait until at least January 14, after a national board meeting is held in Los Angeles.

SAG's contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) expired June 30 with the two sides unable to agree on how actors would be paid when movies and TV shows are distributed through "new media," such as mobile phones and the Internet.

A statement posted on the SAG Web site says 2,524 union members have expressed support for a strike, while 1,373 have said they are against one. The union has 120,000-plus members, but most are non-working actors.

A strike-authorization vote must have 75% backing by members, leaving it about 10% short under the tally reported in the statement.

"This division does not help our effort to get an agreement from the AMPTP that our members will ratify," said Doug Allen, the national executive director and chief negotiator for the union.

Talks between Hollywood's largest actors union and producers broke off last month.

The producers alliance has demanded SAG accept terms similar to those in contracts concluded over the past year with six other unions representing writers, directors, stagehands, casting directors and a smaller actors union.

"Taken together, these six new labor agreements will keep our industry at work, allow producers to experiment with new media, and give everyone in our industry a stake in the success of new and emerging markets," AMPTP said in November. To top of page

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