SAG Postpones Strike Vote
Union schedules meeting to iron out division
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2008 11:27 AM CST
Actor Kosta Arpopoulos holds a sign as he waits to enter the Hollywood room to participate in the Screen Actors Guild vote at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California on Thursday Dec. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Hector Mata)
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(Newser) – Facing dissent in the rank-and-file, the Screen Actors Guild is delaying a member vote to authorize a strike, the Los Angeles Times reports. The union’s board will push back balloting slated to begin January 2 to “address the unfortunate division and restore consensus” at a special meeting January 12, said SAG’s executive director. "This will provide us with more time to conduct member education and outreach on the referendum before the balloting,” Douglas Allen wrote to members.

A strike requires the support of 75% of the union’s 120,000 members, but more than 130 prominent actors, including Tom Hanks and George Clooney, have openly opposed the idea, and SAG’s New York contingent told Allen to forget about it. Union leaders want a strike authorization to give it leverage in contract negotiations with studios, and almost 100 celebrities support the idea, saying that the current offer could hurt actors in the digital realm.