Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SAG-AMPTP Negotiations to Continue for Third Day

SAG and the AMPTP ended their second day of talks at about 10:00 p.m. this evening (Weds.), but will resume tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. for a third, previously unannounced day of talks, said a source. No other info was available on the progress of negotiations, but this is obviously a hopeful sign in a situation that's been largely devoid of them until the last 30 days.

Negotiations had resumed Tuesday, accompanied by dueling protests, one from an organization of below-the-liners calling itself Back to Work, organized largely by camera operators Jon Philion and Andrew Rowlands and cinematographers Ed Gutentag and Bruce McCleery, and the other from Membership First. BtW was urging a deal, while MF was protesting the likelihood that the talks would result in what they consider an unacceptable deal. There were about 100 protesters in all, reports Variety.

The next day, about 50 MF protesters showed up, Variety indicates. Indeed, Wednesday was a banner day for union protests, as the Writers Guild deployed 200 picketers to CBS Television to protest FremantleMedia’s allegedly unfair treatment of its “American Idol” writers and other workers. The DGA, on the other hand, prefers to deploy consultants rather than picketers; thus, the day before, they hired a new media expert to prep for the 2011 contract talks.

Looking ahead (but not as far ahead as 2011), this Saturday will bring a SAG national board meeting. The agenda will probably include a report on the status of negotiations, and perhaps action on a contract for interim National Executive Director David White. On Monday, negotiations commence on New York on the SAG commercials contract, meaning that TV/theatrical negotiations would probably not resume until the following week at the earliest. Of course, if a deal is reached before this Saturday, then no resumption of talks would be necessary, but I’m skeptical that an agreement can be reached that quickly, given the various issues that are probably in play.

This coming Monday, Feb. 23, also brings a panel in LA entitled How Will Labor Discord Change Hollywood? The panel will focus, in particular, on issues related to new media.

Sponsored by Zocalo and moderated by LA Times Editorial Board Member Jon Healey, panelists include AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgepeth, SAG Unite for Strength spokesperson Ned Vaughn, UCLA Law professor David Ginsburg, Veoh Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Dmitry Shapiro, and myself.

The panel starts at 7:30 at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks, 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. For info and reservations, visit


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  1. Wow -- A symposium about Labor Discord with Roberta Reardon and Ned Vaughn in attendance but not a single person from Membership First on the dais?

    What is this 'fair and balanced' like Fox news?

    Nothing like only promoting one side of the argument.

    What a 'homer' you are Handel.

  2. I don't know what a "homer" is, but in any case, I didn't determine the panel.

    Also, btw, it's Kim Roberts Hedgepeth, not Roberta Reardon, who is on the panel.