SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher took to Instagram to respond to George Clooney’s proposal to end the ongoing strike by removing the cap on union dues. While expressing gratitude for the generous offer, Drescher emphasized that Clooney’s proposal is not legally compatible with the union’s contract. In a video, she clarified that the offer does not address the specific issues being raised by the striking members and urged the CEOs to return to the negotiation table.
Clooney and other A-List actors extended their offer to pay more into the union coffers in hopes of bridging the gap between the studio and streamers’ offer and the union’s requests. Additionally, their proposal aimed to prioritize lower-income members by ensuring they receive residuals before higher-income members. While appreciative of the support and generosity, Drescher highlighted the fundamental incompatibility of the proposal with the legally regulated nature of their union.
Drescher explained that as a federally regulated labor union, SAG-AFTRA’s pension and health funds can only receive contributions from the employer. Thus, the proposal to remove the cap on union dues, even if voluntarily offered by higher-paid members, cannot be legally implemented. She emphasized that the benefits the union is fighting for must be addressed within the existing contract, and contributions to the funds must come from the employer.
In addition to the issue of union dues, the proposal also mentioned a possible solution regarding residuals. However, Drescher clarified that the union’s experienced negotiators and lawyers have vetted this suggestion and determined that it lacks legal viability. She referred to the complex nature of the negotiations, describing it as a “very nuanced house of cards.” Despite the appreciation for the effort to support all members, Drescher stated that the union’s negotiating committee is awaiting the return of the CEOs to resume discussions.
The Call to Resume Negotiations
While expressing gratitude for the generous financial contributions made by certain influential members to their foundation, Drescher stressed the need for the CEOs to engage in meaningful negotiations. She reiterated that the proposal put forth by Clooney and his supporters does not address the specific contractual issues that led to the strike. In order to find a resolution, the union and the negotiating committee eagerly await the CEOs’ return to the table.
Fran Drescher’s response to George Clooney’s proposal highlights the incompatibility of the offer with the legally regulated contract of SAG-AFTRA. Despite the generosity and support of the offer, the union’s pension and health funds can only receive contributions from employers, and the negotiations must focus on addressing the benefits within the current contract. The union awaits the CEOs’ return to the table to continue discussions and find a resolution to the ongoing strike.