Actors’ union ousts boss to avoid strike

January 28th, 2009 - 2:12 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Jan 28 (DPA) The largest actors’ union in the US has ousted its combative executive director in a backlash against his hard line negotiating style that had nearly brought the Screen Actors Guild to the brink of a debilitating strike.The board of the union fired executive director Doug Allen Monday night, and appointed a new chief negotiator who is expected to immediately jump start long-stalled talks with studio representatives.

The board also replaced the union’s negotiating committee with a task force mandated to secure a television/theatrical contract that can be sent to members with a “positive recommendation”.

“These much needed changes will allow SAG to chart a new course,” the 71-member board said in a statement.

The actors have been working without a contract since June and had been brought to the brink of a strike over disagreements on residual payments for work distributed over the internet and other new media.

A strike would have paralyzed movie and television production in Hollywood like the screenwriters’ strike last year that was estimated to have cost the industry $3 billion.

The new negotiating team is expected to accept contract proposals modelled on those reached between the studios and the screenwriters’ and directors’ guilds.

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