First, I’ve got additional info about the AFTRA-AMPTP deal announced yesterday: I’m told the union’s New Media terms are the exact same offered by the networks-&-studios group to SAG on Day 1 of their negotiations last month. So AFTRA negotiated with the networks and studios for 16 days only to obtain what SAG flatly rejected. What heavy duty bargaining by AFTRA, eh? It’s also the same exact deal (minus the clips issue) which the AMPTP made with the WGA. .(For my reporting, see my previous, AFTRA Deal With AMPTP Caves On Clips.)
Also, I reported a month ago that the AMPTP plans to drag out its talks with SAG into mid-July. Today, finally, Variety has caught up. I also was amused by the way the trade completely spun AFTRA’s all-too-obvious clips cave-in. I’ve learned that SAG found out AFTRA had a deal only by reading it in Variety, which was tipped off by AFTRA and posted yesterday around dawn. Not a very classy AFTRA move to call the trade but not the other actors union.
I’m told that, after finding out a pact had been reached, SAG leadership asked AFTRA’s people for a briefing. AFTRA hemmed and hawed and finally said they could brief SAG, but only at 11:30 AM at 5757 Wilshire Blvd – the exact time SAG would be in negotiations with the AMPTP Wednesday. The only alternate date was sometime next week.
So SAG had a brief bargaining session with the AMPTP, then ended it early “in consideration” of AMPTP’s late-hour bargaining with AFTRA the night before. With that, SAG leaders phoned their AFTRA counterparts to tell them they were on the way to 5757 Wilshire. The 60 people who make up SAG’s committee and staff sped across town arriving mere minutes after noon — just in time to see AFTRA’s negotiating committee including Roberta Reardon racing for the door.
Picture this: AFTRA’s president, negotiating committee and various staff scurrying through the lobby at 5757 Wilshire with suitcases in hand Wednesday in a mad dash to depart the building and avoid briefing SAG’s leadership or even its negotiating committee on their new deal with the AMPTP. It happened — and I’m told it was funny in a lame-ass kind of way. Tragicomedy, because the losers were the 40,000 dual cardholding actors – a majority of them here in Los Angeles – who “got ditched like a bad prom date” by the AFTRA negotiating committee that purports to represent them.
Strange behavior indeed. Especially because after SAG’s committee concluded their first round of talks with the AMPTP, SAG leadership briefed AFTRA immediately. AFTRA’s observer was also allowed into SAG’s negotiations nearly every day and in almost every session except “a couple of” executive briefings and sidebars. Even copies of documents were shared. But SAG’s observers were told not to come to the AFTRA negotiations on at least 6 days.
“AFTRA can spin until they are dizzy,” an insider told me, “but they can’t hide the fact that they are harming their members by acting in bad faith – repeatedly — with SAG. Their words speak, but their actions speak louder .”
UPDATE: SAG finally was formally briefed on Thursday, at 1:15 PM, at the AMPTP, according to an AFTRA spokesperson, by a delegation of AFTRA negotiations committee members and senior staff. Now let’s all move on…