SAG-AFTRA’s contract talks are coming down to the wire. The union’s film and TV contract with the AMPTP expires tonight at midnight PT, and negotiations are expected to continue right up until the deadline.
Actors haven’t struck the film and TV industry since 1980, but union leaders say they’ll ask their members for strike authorization if an acceptable agreement isn’t reached tonight. A strike, should it come to that, wouldn’t take effect for several weeks. The guild has scheduled membership informational meetings through July 9, and it could take several more weeks after that to complete a strike-authorization vote.
The two sides, however, could continue bargaining as the strike vote is being taken. That’s what happened with the recent WGA contract talks, which continued during and after the strike vote was being taken.
On Sunday, the union accused management’s Alliance of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of demanding “outrageous rollbacks” at the bargaining table. According to union officials, the companies’ demands “will mean more for less – more hours, more work, more unreimbursed travel and less opportunity for fair compensation.”
Guild President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White have said that the union has presented “reasonable proposes” at the bargaining table “to address the critical concerns facing our members and that are integral to making a living in this industry. The AMPTP has responded with outrageous rollbacks that cut to the core of our basic terms and conditions. Despite our efforts, the AMPTP has failed to move on our most critical issues. The status quo is simply unacceptable and our members, standing together, will not give in to management’s onerous demands nor back down on our critical proposals.”
At the first membership meeting on Wednesday, several hundred performers in attendance expressed they strong support for the guild’s negotiating positions.
“This is a time of extraordinary entertainment and media industry profits,” the union said in a statement posted on its website. “Global online distributors like Netflix, and now Amazon, are expanding the market for scripted film and television across the globe. There is unprecedented consumer demand for content and record industry profits. Actors are among the key drivers of the industry’s monumental success and should receive appropriate compensation, benefits, and standing on par with their overall contribution. Only a fair contract agreement will ensure this.”