EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA has told Hollywood’s talent agents that return-to-work talks with management’s AMPTP have stalled because the companies are refusing to spring for COVID-19 quarantine pay for series regulars and other film and TV performers.
The union held what was billed as an “emergency” Zoom meeting with agents Saturday to discuss the issue. The invitation to the meeting, obtained by Deadline, said that “The union is asking agents to please invite and share this Zoom link for this emergency meeting with all affected clients in both television and film, and is also inviting agents to attend this meeting.”
The topic of discussion, according to the invite, was “the refusal of the AMPTP companies to agree to quarantine pay for series regular performers (and some Schedule F performers as well) as part of Industry-Wide Safety Protocol negotiations that are presently being conducted.” Schedule F performers include over-scale actors working on certain weekly contracts for motion pictures and miniseries, and on a specified number of episodes on a given television series.
A spokesperson for SAG-AFTRA declined comment, as did a spokesperson for the AMPTP. The AMPTP reportedly believes that the companies shouldn’t have to pay for quarantining as long as the performers are receiving their negotiated pay during the time allotted by the contract.
The ongoing talks are meant to finalize the protocols laid out in the “white paper” issued June 1 by the Industry-Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, and those contained in the “Safe Way Forward” guidelines promulgated June 12 by the unions and guilds including SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE and the Teamsters, which are all taking part in finalizing a back-to-work agreement.
SAG-AFTRA told its members recently that quarantine pay for shows that shut down because of positive COVID-19 tests, or if quarantining is required by producers prior to the start of production, were “part of the ongoing discussions to clarify SAG-AFTRA’s position on this matter which will be communicated as it progresses.”
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