High-profile actors like Melissa Gilbert and Martin Sheen are picking sides in the increasingly bitter struggle to ratify the Screen Actors Guild’s proposed new contract, Variety reports. “I’m still amazed and shocked at the level of vitriol among theopponents of this deal,” Gilbert, who served aspresident from 2001-05, told the trade publication. “There’sno room for dissent.” While former SAG president Ed Asner compared the possible deal to the Holocaust during a closed-door meeting, Sheen joined John Heard, Nichelle Nichols, board member Elliott Gould, and secretary-treasurer Connie Stevens in a “vote no” video posted online over the weekend. Opponents of the proposal have criticized its new-media rates and the fact that it gives SAG no jurisdiction over original new-media works that cost less than $15,000 per minute, $300,000 per production, and $500,000 per series. SAG’s 110,000 members received ballots on the deal last week, and must return them by June 9. The group’s national board approved the proposed contract at 53 percent in April, ten months after the last deal expired. If it’s voted down, SAG must ask members for a strike authorization vote, which would require 75 percent approval. SAG estimates actors have lost $85 million in pay increases already by holding out for a better deal.
Posted May 26 2009 — 12:51 PM EDT
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