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CNN Today

Commercial Actors Go on Strike

Aired May 1, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Television also figures in a labor dispute today. Actors who work in television and radio commercials went on strike in a dispute over how they should be paid.

CNN's Dennis Michael reports that advertisers want to make lump sum payments, while the actors want to be paid each time a commercial runs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DENNIS MICHAEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Short is a working actor in film, episodic TV, and as seen here, commercials. Going to auditions for commercials is a normal part of his work, but that role changed Monday morning as the actors' unions, SAG and AFTA, went on strike against the Association of National Advertisers.

The Screen Actors Guild held an informational rally on Sunday to brief strikers on the new roles they'll be taking. Advertisers want to buy the actors' commercial work for a lump sum payment. Commercials on cable work that way now, but not broadcast networks. Actors want residuals for all commercials, cable and network. Screen Actors Guild President William Daniels sees the advertisers' position as a step backward, for SAG and its sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

WILLIAM DANIELS, PRES., SCREEN ACTORS GUILD: Advertisers have asked us, in this time of prosperity, to take a pay cut, a rollback, in our, what we call "class A" commercials on network; which are pay- per-play and they want to put in a single payment formula, which is unacceptable to us.

MICHAEL: The Association of National Advertisers is standing firm with its position.

JOHN MCGUINN, ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL ADVERTISERS: They want to increase the amount we pay for those by about 350 percent, and that is way off the charts of any labor organization, any labor/management agreements that are in the works today.

MICHAEL: The strike is likely to a long and bitter one.

DANIELS: There has been little movement on the advertisers' side of these issues and there's certainly not going be any movement on our side. MICHAEL: And since a new compact will also impact the actors' future in commercials on the Internet as well as cable, the stakes are very high indeed.

JOHN SHORT, SAG MEMBER: I have this, I have this and my training, and my persona, my jouer de vivre, so to speak. That's what I have to offer. They want to use this a lot more for a lot less.

MICHAEL: The Screen Actors Guild is expecting a long strike against the advertisers and they're prepared for it.

DANIELS: We have a very well planned strike, we have an outreach program that has been working for months to keep our members informed.

Dennis Michael, CNN Entertainment News, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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