SAG's White seeks to heal wounds
UPDATE: So much for unity. SAG president Alan Rosenberg has just offered a reminder of how that won't happy anytime soon. In his own message to members, Rosenberg blasted the board's decision to fire executive director Doug Allen on Monday. A staunch backer of Allen's, Rosenberg accused the board of using an "undemocratic provision" in the SAG's constitution to oust Allen and not giving him a chance to "face his accusers ... Many of us believe that Doug Allen was fired simply because he was too good, too strong, and too much a unionist," Rosenberg said.
David White, interim executive director of Screen Actor Guild, wasted no time calling on members to end the sparring that has hobbled the union.
SAG's board fired former executive director Doug Allen on Monday and replaced him with White, a former general counsel to the union. In his first communication, White said in an e-mail message to members that his top priority was to unify the guild.
"As we confront these efforts together, my overarching goal is this: to help restore your confidence that this is a union where strong and wise decisions are made despite political differences," White wrote. "It is time to turn the page on the most destructive aspects of the guild's internal politics."
Whether Allen's supporters, including SAG President Alan Rosenberg, are ready to make peace with the new top administrator remains to be seen. Many of Allen's backers in the "Membership First" camp are deeply upset over his ouster and suspicious of White.
But White has the backing of moderates who now control the board, as does John McGuire, who has been charged with reopening contract talks with the studios that have stalled for months. McGuire has already had informal discussions with studio representatives to lay the groundwork for negotiations that could begin by early next week, people familiar with the matter said. SAG members have been without a contract since June 30.
-- Richard Verrier