As was reported this weekend, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists pulled out of its bargaining alliance with the Screen Actors Guild, ostensibly because of some hoo-ha about SAG leaders meeting with cast members of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which is an AFTRA shop. The actors’ contract with the studios and networks expires June 30, and talks were set to begin in a couple of weeks. No one seems much interested in another strike - no one except the leadership of SAG and AFTRA, which have been behaving like school yard snots for some time. As is often the case in these matters, it's impossible to figure out who instigated what, but let's just say that given the rocky relationship of both unions it might not have been such a great idea to agree on joint bargaining. What's truly ridiculous about the flap is that both sides seem to be in relative agreement on demands. From the NYT:
The exchanges concealed some dangerous complications, beyond the potential scheduling conflicts. Neither actors union is quite as strong without the other. Both face the possibility that disparate contracts will lead to a protracted struggle for representation of actors on television shows, including prime time series, that could be represented by either. And the movie and television companies now face the possibility that the actors guild, which has been pressing more assertive positions than the federation, will hold out for bigger gains on its own than would have been possible in joint talks.
Nikki Finke says that AFTRA's maneuver came after a planted story in the LAT. From Deadline Hollywood Daily:
It was hardly a secret, much less a scoop, that the Emmy-winning star of The Bold And The Beautiful, Susan Flannery, has for some time now circulated a petition to decertify AFTRA as the union representing the actors on the long-running soap. But, suddenly, the LA Times was exaggerating a minor matter whereby SAG's national executive director Doug Allen was approached by two B&B actors for a meeting. When the duo launched into a litany of complaints about AFTRA's representation, witnesses tell me that Allen properly turned them aside and sent them back to AFTRA. But it took the LAT until the 11th paragraph to convey that salient point. And the paper never bothered to mention that these two B&B cast members were also SAG members since there are many dual cardholders.