Thursday, October 23, 2008

AMPTP Agrees to Mediate

Not surprisingly, the AMPTP has agreed to attend sessions to be conducted by a federal mediator, as requested several days ago by the Screen Actors Guild.  

However, in today's statement announcing their position, the studios also reiterate that they won't budge from their position that the new media template agreed to this year by three other unions -- writers (WGA), directors (DGA) and rival actors union AFTRA (in two separate deals) -- should be good enough for SAG as well.  SAG, for its part, is equally adamant that the deal needs modification.  

Reportedly, no date has been set for the first meeting.  The mediator will be Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who unsuccessfully mediated the WGA negotiations just before the contract expired and the union decided to strike.  I doubt he'll have any more luck this time.  If nobody budges, I expect a strike by early January at the latest.  

Here's the AMPTP statement:

The Producers have demonstrated our willingness to bargain reasonably.  So far this year, we have reached four major labor agreements, and each one of these agreements has required compromise after compromise on our part.   We have also offered compromises to SAG already, in a package that includes more than $250 million in economic gains and groundbreaking new media rights.   We are, of course, willing to meet with a federal mediator in the hopes of achieving our fifth Guild agreement this year.   But we are also realistic:  It will be very difficult to reach an agreement if SAG continues to insist unreasonably that it deserves a better deal than the ones achieved by the other entertainment Guilds during far better economic times.

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