EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA and management’s AMPTP could be close to wrapping up their negotiations for a new film and TV contract, though no deal is in place yet. Sources tell Deadline the companies are hopeful that an agreement can be reached before Monday, when the AMPTP will start contract talks with the WGA.
SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP began bargaining via video teleconference on April 27, saying in a joint statement that the talks would be conducted “under a formal media blackout.” The union’s current contract expires on June 30.
AMPTP president Carol Lombardini is the lead negotiator for the companies; SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White is the union’s chief negotiator, and SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris chairs the union’s negotiating committee.
If a deal isn’t reached by Monday, Lombardini will have to alternate between bargaining with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. Concurrent, though separate, negotiations would be unprecedented and pose Lombardini’s greatest challenge in her 10 years at the helm of the AMPTP, during which the industry has been free of strikes.
The WGA’s current contract had been set to expire on May 1, but after several fits and starts – including some name-calling by WGA West executive director David Young – the guild agreed to extend the expiration of its current contract to June 30, the same as SAG-AFTRA’s, and to begin negotiations during the week of May 11. Because of scheduling difficulties, however, the WGA and the AMPTP agreed to hold off the talks until May 18.
And against this backdrop, the companies and the industry’s unions are working to adopt protocols for the safe reopening of film and TV production. On Thursday, SAG-AFTRA issued an unprecedented notice to its members, saying, “No member should return to work under an existing contract or accept a contract for new employment without first securing the approval of the union. Members must contact the union to ensure that they are accepting work that SAG-AFTRA has evaluated and established that the producer/employer has made provision for, and met adequate health and safety standards.”