Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SAG Talks Start Today

Just a reminder: formal talks between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the studios (represented by the AMPTP) start today (Tuesday, April 15). And, in less than two weeks - on April 28 - talks begin between another actors union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA), and the AMPTP.

AFTRA's likely to drive an easier bargain with management, which means that if SAG doesn't reach agreement first, their harder-line approach will be undercut the more moderate template that AFTRA's likely to set. That, in turn, reduces SAG's leverage dramatically.

And will there be a strike? Who knows, but AFTRA's scheduling move reduces the likelihood, since a SAG strike would allow AFTRA to start negotiating deals (at least for new shows) and keep production running while SAG is sidelined.

Still, no one's taking any chances. Most movie and television) production is currently scheduled to cease by mid- to late June, to avoid the risk of actors walking off set and shutting down on an active production.

We may know more later in the week, if we learn (through public announcements or leaks) how the SAG-AMPTP talks are proceeding. However, informal talks ended last week, apparently on a cordial but unproductive note. Stay tuned.


  1. Your article repeats (though it tones down) the Membership First rhetoric which has proved so misleading to date. What makes you think AFTRA would "drive an easier bargain" - when AFTRA is the union that has just delivered a contract - it's largest, the Network Code - carrying the largest economic increases of any major pact in the industry in the past ten years?

    What "more moderate template"? The unions are working from the SAME proposals, which were jointly agreed upon before the split up caused by SAG's raiding misadventures.

    The template here, at least according to the companies, is the one set during the WGA and DGA bargaining... whether that proves to be correct remains to be seen.

  2. There ya go, Anonymous. Not only are you a coward, but apparently a AFTRA apologist to boot.

    As an insider from both unions, I think Handel's analysis is more than moderate, it's pretty fair.

    Keep it up, Handel. As an insider, I'd love to share with you what I know, but that would be breaching an NDA.