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Tiger Stands by Striking Actors

Updated:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods is on strike.

Not as a golfer, but as a highly paid Nike pitchman.

Woods has joined the strike by TV and radio commercial actors by refusing to film an advertisement for the sportswear and sporting goods manufacturer.

Woods was scheduled to shoot a Nike commercial Tuesday at Isleworth Country Club, his home course near Orlando, Fla. But he decided to just not do it.

``There is a strike going on and we're abiding by it,'' said his agent, Mark Steinberg of International Management Group. No commercial was filmed Tuesday and none would be for several weeks, he said.

Nike spokesman Mike Kelly said it was joint decision by Woods and the company not to shoot the commercial because of the strike.

Woods' decision was greeted enthusiastically by the Screen Actors Guild, which authorized the strike along with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. About 135,000 actors are represented by the unions.

The strike, which began Monday, escalated with the filing Tuesday of a federal unfair labor practice charge against the actors' union for allegedly threatening to permanently ban actors from the union if they appear in commercials during the strike. The filing also claimed the union was illegally seeking to expand its commercial contract to cover work done in Canada and Mexico.

The show of support by Woods was acknowledged by the actors' union.

``We deeply appreciate the support of this international superstar,'' SAG spokesman Greg Krizman said. Woods ``stands together with the working class SAG and AFTRA performers who depend on a fair commercials contract to maintain a decent standard of life.''

Woods' deal with Nike is being renegotiated and could pay him a reported $80 million to $90 million over five years. The golfer's TV commercials, including one in which he bounces a golf ball off a club head, have been eye-catching.

Union membership is mandatory for anyone who appears in more than one commercial, athletes included. The unions have vowed to picket film shoots proceeding with nonunion actors or guild members not honoring the strike.

Kelly would not reveal the nature of the commercial, but said the goal was to have it ready in time for the U.S. Open, which begins June 15.

The strike centers on the pay structure for commercials. Actors get a minimum of about $478 for a day's work and also get ``pay-per-play'' residuals of roughly $50 to $120 each time a spot airs on network television.

When it comes to cable TV commercials, however, performers receive only a flat fee of $1,000 or less for each 13-week, unlimited run.

With two-thirds of all TV ads now being made for cable, actors are demanding that pay-per-play be extended to cable. Advertisers, however, want to extend the flat fee from cable to the networks.

Ad-makers have said they are confident they can continue production with nonunion actors and union members who were not participating in the strike.

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