Tonight SAG distributed this email to members tonight about the status of the contrat negotiations with the AMPTP. It’s interesting to note that today, August 15th, was the deadline set by the AMPTP for SAG to ratify the June 30th TV/Theatrical proposal in order or the deal to be retroactive to July 1st. I was expecting some sort of announcement all day from the AMPTP about this — but nothing. As the SAG email explained, “This is a standard response by management in labor negotiations. They hope this threat will stampede our membership to take a bad deal. The risk that actors may not receive increases retroactively is more than offset by the long-term damage that would result from a premature deal that eliminates residuals for work done for new media and reused on new media, or from allowing signatory producers to produce non-union.” Here’s the email in its entiety:

August 15, 2008
CONTRACT 2008 UPDATE
Discussions Continue
SAG negotiators and industry representatives continue to have informal discussions regarding a successor TV/Theatrical agreement.  It is not at all unusual for both parties in large negotiations like ours to meet in smaller more manageable groups to talk about remaining outstanding issues in an effort to reach accord.  SAG and AMPTP full committees (which combined number over 100 people) will meet face-to-face again when we have reached a deal and shake hands across the table. We are all hopeful that will happen soon.

Your negotiating team remains committed to opposing the AMPTP’s proposals to produce original made for new media productions non-union, with no residuals.

The SAG national board of directors unanimously endorsed these core principles in its motion on July 26:

“It is a core principle of Screen Actors Guild—

“That no non-union work shall be authorized to be done under any SAG agreement and;

“That all work done under a Screen Actors Guild contract, regardless of budget level, shall receive fair compensation when reused.”

We believe that the majority of the other issues have been resolved. Screen Actors Guild has made significant compromises to reach tentative agreement on the resolved issues. We also believe that what we are asking for, to close the gap and make this deal, is extremely reasonable and addresses the actual needs of actors and their families in these times of technological advances and economic challenges. 

Your national negotiating committee met on Wednesday, August 13 for an update from the president and national executive director regarding informal meetings and discussions with the industry, and to discuss SAG’s options and next steps.

Expired Contract Still in Effect
Despite what you may read on some blogs, the expired TV/Theatrical contract remains in effect. You should continue auditioning and accepting employment under the expired agreement. If you or your agent have any questions, or believe the terms and conditions of the contract are being violated, please call the national contract department at (323) 549-6818.  We will take action to protect your rights.
 
Signed SAG Guaranteed Completion Contracts (GCC) Soar to over 600 
To date, 658 projects have been signed by non-AMPTP producers (AMPTP producers are not eligible to sign GCCs). The GCC agreements incorporate the terms of the current SAG theatrical agreement, and terms of any agreement reached by SAG and the AMPTP retroactively, thus allowing companies not affiliated with the AMPTP to begin motion pictures without the fear of interruption by a work stoppage. The total number of SAG covered feature films in 2007, not including ultra low budget and student films, was 1,296. Using that number as a baseline, over half the potential number of films this year have the green light to continue shooting to completion under SAG GCC agreements, no matter what happens in contract negotiations.  Remember, these are NOT WAIVERS, but actual contracts.

August 15 AMPTP “Deadline”
The AMPTP has stated that SAG must ratify the AMPTP’s June 30 proposal by August 15 for the deal to be retroactive, threatening not to agree to apply economic improvements in the new TV/Theatrical contract when the deal is done, retroactively to July 1, 2008. This is a standard response by management in labor negotiations. They hope this threat will stampede our membership to take a bad deal. The risk that actors may not receive increases retroactively is more than offset by the long-term damage that would result from a premature deal that eliminates residuals for work done for new media and reused on new media, or from allowing signatory producers to produce non-union.