Negotiations are coming down to the wire this week on two major contracts: SAG-AFTRA’s $1 billion-a-year commercials contract expires on Thursday, and on-again-off-again talks resume today for the Animation Guild’s new film and TV contract.
SAG-AFTRA, meeting in New York with the advertising industry’s Joint Policy Committee, has been bargaining steadily since Feb. 16, when they issued a joint statement saying that they “look forward to productive bargaining under a jointly agreed upon media blackout already in effect and will have no further comment.”
The Animation Guild’s negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, which are also being conducted under a media blackout, have taken a more circuitous route. The guild’s current contract had originally been set to expire last July 29, but was extended to October 30, and then extended again to allow IATSE to work out a film and TV deal with the AMPTP that narrowly averted the first industry-wide strike in the union’s history.
The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, finally got to the bargaining table with the AMPTP on Nov. 29, 2021, but those talks recessed four days later and didn’t resume until Feb. 14. The talks recessed again, then resumed on March 2; stalled again and resumed again on March 22. In advance of a rally for a fair contract on March 20, which was attended by several hundred members and their supporters, the guild said that it had engaged in an “unprecedented 12 days of negotiations.”
Going into those negotiations, leaders of the 5,000-member Animation Guild guild told their members that major issues they intended to raise at the bargaining table included better terms for streaming shows, a significant pay increase for animation writers and an outsized raise for the guild’s lowest-paid crafts.
Going into SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, said that “Negotiating strong contracts is the key to our success as a union, and ensuring the growth of employment opportunities under our commercials contracts is a priority for SAG-AFTRA.”
And SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said at the time that she was “so impressed by the dedication and intellect of the negotiating committee that painstakingly put together this proposal package, which really addresses the needs of commercial actors and pushes the needle forward.”
So far, neither SAG-AFTRA nor the Animation Guild has raised the specter of a possible strike.
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