Nov 26, 2020
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SAG, AFTRA mending fences

SAG has agreed to jointly negotiate a feature-primetime contract with AFTRA — after AFTRA topper Kim Roberts Hedgpeth huddled Tuesday at the office of News Corp. topper Peter Chernin, along with attorney Ken Ziffren and AMPTP president Nick Counter.

Disney CEO Robert Iger — who teamed with Chernin and CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves in hammering out the recent deals with the Directors Guild and Writers Guild of America — would have attended the sesh but was out of town.

SAG’s national exec committee agreed Tuesday to conduct the negotiations with AFTRA under conditions of the much-disputed 27-year-old Phase One agreement. That move opens the door for the performers unions to jointly launch contract negotiations in early April with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

AFTRA had been threatening for more than a month to negotiate a separate deal early with the AMPTP.

Studio sources described the meeting with Chernin and the others as helpful and constructive. And the get-together signaled clearly that AFTRA was running out of patience with the lack of speed in the Screen Actors Guild’s efforts to seek joint negotiations.

With the threat of split negotiations looming, SAG leaders had been expected to agree to joint bargaining under conditions of the two unions’ Phase One agreement (Daily Variety, March 7) — although that strategy won’t sit well with some thesps, who perceive the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists as being far less assertive at the bargaining table. SAG board member Justine Bateman recently asserted that the guild should go to war with AFTRA and tell SAG members not to work AFTRA contracts.

SAG national exec director Doug Allen released a brief statement Tuesday announcing that SAG’s national exec committee had endorsed a schedule calling for both performers unions to hold a joint committee plenary March 25 and 26 on wages and working conditions, followed by a joint national board meeting on March 29 to develop the proposal package for negotiations with the AMPTP.

AFTRA and AMPTP had no comment Tuesday. The AMPTP announced Feb. 14 it was ready to start bargaining with the actors.

It’s expected the AMPTP will offer SAG and AFTRA a package that mirrors terms and conditions in the WGA and DGA deals, particularly in new media. Some SAG members have also been pushing leaders to seek a boost in the two-decades-old DVD residuals formula, but such a move would be a nonstarter for the congloms.

AFTRA first delivered the threat to start early bargaining on its own six weeks ago — a move that would have significantly de-leveraged SAG, since producers would probably flock to sign deals with AFTRA, given presumably more favorable terms.

SAG has been facing growing pressure to get to the bargaining table as soon as possible given the looming June 30 expiration of its feature-primetime contract plus the lingering fatigue from the 100-day WGA strike. A week ago, AFTRA promised it would go solo with the AMPTP if SAG didn’t commit by Monday to launch negotiations by the end of March.

AFTRA’s moves came after a year of campaigning by Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg to revamp the Phase One bargaining process, under which SAG and AFTRA have 50-50 representation on the joint negotiating committee — even though AFTRA covers only three primetime shows and no feature work. That effort included a campaign asserting AFTRA was shilling for producers by signing cable deals for shows shot on digital at initial terms more favorable than SAG’s to producers.

AFTRA has insisted it has the right to sign such pacts and contended doing so prevents shows from going nonunion or being shot in Canada. AFTRA’s also accused SAG leaders of being overly militant and inflexible in their “one size fits all” approach to contracts.

SAG leaders decided last summer to institute block voting for its negotiating committee, opening the door for AFTRA to insist that SAG had violated the Phase One agreement and threaten to negotiate separately from SAG. The guild’s leaders agreed Feb. 9 to go back to Phase One, but attached conditions to doing so — specifically that AFTRA agree to stop offering producers contracts at lower initial terms than SAG’s.

But AFTRA’s leaders have insisted they won’t discuss such conditions with SAG until after the deal with the AMPTP is signed.

SAG’s move Tuesday wasn’t a surprise, given that leaders of the AFL-CIO sided with AFTRA over SAG last week after hearing both unions present their positions. AFTRA board members were notified recently that they should expect the two unions to set a joint plenary to hammer out the final proposal to the AMPTP, followed by a joint negotiating committee meeting March 29.

Source: Variety

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Headline, Industry News

SAG, AFTRA mending fences

SAG has agreed to jointly negotiate a feature-primetime contract with AFTRA — after AFTRA topper Kim Roberts Hedgpeth huddled Tuesday at the office of News Corp. topper Peter Chernin, along with attorney Ken Ziffren and AMPTP president Nick Counter.

Disney CEO Robert Iger — who teamed with Chernin and CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves in hammering out the recent deals with the Directors Guild and Writers Guild of America — would have attended the sesh but was out of town.

SAG’s national exec committee agreed Tuesday to conduct the negotiations with AFTRA under conditions of the much-disputed 27-year-old Phase One agreement. That move opens the door for the performers unions to jointly launch contract negotiations in early April with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

AFTRA had been threatening for more than a month to negotiate a separate deal early with the AMPTP.

Studio sources described the meeting with Chernin and the others as helpful and constructive. And the get-together signaled clearly that AFTRA was running out of patience with the lack of speed in the Screen Actors Guild’s efforts to seek joint negotiations.

With the threat of split negotiations looming, SAG leaders had been expected to agree to joint bargaining under conditions of the two unions’ Phase One agreement (Daily Variety, March 7) — although that strategy won’t sit well with some thesps, who perceive the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists as being far less assertive at the bargaining table. SAG board member Justine Bateman recently asserted that the guild should go to war with AFTRA and tell SAG members not to work AFTRA contracts.

SAG national exec director Doug Allen released a brief statement Tuesday announcing that SAG’s national exec committee had endorsed a schedule calling for both performers unions to hold a joint committee plenary March 25 and 26 on wages and working conditions, followed by a joint national board meeting on March 29 to develop the proposal package for negotiations with the AMPTP.

AFTRA and AMPTP had no comment Tuesday. The AMPTP announced Feb. 14 it was ready to start bargaining with the actors.

It’s expected the AMPTP will offer SAG and AFTRA a package that mirrors terms and conditions in the WGA and DGA deals, particularly in new media. Some SAG members have also been pushing leaders to seek a boost in the two-decades-old DVD residuals formula, but such a move would be a nonstarter for the congloms.

AFTRA first delivered the threat to start early bargaining on its own six weeks ago — a move that would have significantly de-leveraged SAG, since producers would probably flock to sign deals with AFTRA, given presumably more favorable terms.

SAG has been facing growing pressure to get to the bargaining table as soon as possible given the looming June 30 expiration of its feature-primetime contract plus the lingering fatigue from the 100-day WGA strike. A week ago, AFTRA promised it would go solo with the AMPTP if SAG didn’t commit by Monday to launch negotiations by the end of March.

AFTRA’s moves came after a year of campaigning by Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg to revamp the Phase One bargaining process, under which SAG and AFTRA have 50-50 representation on the joint negotiating committee — even though AFTRA covers only three primetime shows and no feature work. That effort included a campaign asserting AFTRA was shilling for producers by signing cable deals for shows shot on digital at initial terms more favorable than SAG’s to producers.

AFTRA has insisted it has the right to sign such pacts and contended doing so prevents shows from going nonunion or being shot in Canada. AFTRA’s also accused SAG leaders of being overly militant and inflexible in their “one size fits all” approach to contracts.

SAG leaders decided last summer to institute block voting for its negotiating committee, opening the door for AFTRA to insist that SAG had violated the Phase One agreement and threaten to negotiate separately from SAG. The guild’s leaders agreed Feb. 9 to go back to Phase One, but attached conditions to doing so — specifically that AFTRA agree to stop offering producers contracts at lower initial terms than SAG’s.

But AFTRA’s leaders have insisted they won’t discuss such conditions with SAG until after the deal with the AMPTP is signed.

SAG’s move Tuesday wasn’t a surprise, given that leaders of the AFL-CIO sided with AFTRA over SAG last week after hearing both unions present their positions. AFTRA board members were notified recently that they should expect the two unions to set a joint plenary to hammer out the final proposal to the AMPTP, followed by a joint negotiating committee meeting March 29.

Source: Variety

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

SAG, AFTRA mending fences

SAG has agreed to jointly negotiate a feature-primetime contract with AFTRA — after AFTRA topper Kim Roberts Hedgpeth huddled Tuesday at the office of News Corp. topper Peter Chernin, along with attorney Ken Ziffren and AMPTP president Nick Counter.

Disney CEO Robert Iger — who teamed with Chernin and CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves in hammering out the recent deals with the Directors Guild and Writers Guild of America — would have attended the sesh but was out of town.

SAG’s national exec committee agreed Tuesday to conduct the negotiations with AFTRA under conditions of the much-disputed 27-year-old Phase One agreement. That move opens the door for the performers unions to jointly launch contract negotiations in early April with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

AFTRA had been threatening for more than a month to negotiate a separate deal early with the AMPTP.

Studio sources described the meeting with Chernin and the others as helpful and constructive. And the get-together signaled clearly that AFTRA was running out of patience with the lack of speed in the Screen Actors Guild’s efforts to seek joint negotiations.

With the threat of split negotiations looming, SAG leaders had been expected to agree to joint bargaining under conditions of the two unions’ Phase One agreement (Daily Variety, March 7) — although that strategy won’t sit well with some thesps, who perceive the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists as being far less assertive at the bargaining table. SAG board member Justine Bateman recently asserted that the guild should go to war with AFTRA and tell SAG members not to work AFTRA contracts.

SAG national exec director Doug Allen released a brief statement Tuesday announcing that SAG’s national exec committee had endorsed a schedule calling for both performers unions to hold a joint committee plenary March 25 and 26 on wages and working conditions, followed by a joint national board meeting on March 29 to develop the proposal package for negotiations with the AMPTP.

AFTRA and AMPTP had no comment Tuesday. The AMPTP announced Feb. 14 it was ready to start bargaining with the actors.

It’s expected the AMPTP will offer SAG and AFTRA a package that mirrors terms and conditions in the WGA and DGA deals, particularly in new media. Some SAG members have also been pushing leaders to seek a boost in the two-decades-old DVD residuals formula, but such a move would be a nonstarter for the congloms.

AFTRA first delivered the threat to start early bargaining on its own six weeks ago — a move that would have significantly de-leveraged SAG, since producers would probably flock to sign deals with AFTRA, given presumably more favorable terms.

SAG has been facing growing pressure to get to the bargaining table as soon as possible given the looming June 30 expiration of its feature-primetime contract plus the lingering fatigue from the 100-day WGA strike. A week ago, AFTRA promised it would go solo with the AMPTP if SAG didn’t commit by Monday to launch negotiations by the end of March.

AFTRA’s moves came after a year of campaigning by Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg to revamp the Phase One bargaining process, under which SAG and AFTRA have 50-50 representation on the joint negotiating committee — even though AFTRA covers only three primetime shows and no feature work. That effort included a campaign asserting AFTRA was shilling for producers by signing cable deals for shows shot on digital at initial terms more favorable than SAG’s to producers.

AFTRA has insisted it has the right to sign such pacts and contended doing so prevents shows from going nonunion or being shot in Canada. AFTRA’s also accused SAG leaders of being overly militant and inflexible in their “one size fits all” approach to contracts.

SAG leaders decided last summer to institute block voting for its negotiating committee, opening the door for AFTRA to insist that SAG had violated the Phase One agreement and threaten to negotiate separately from SAG. The guild’s leaders agreed Feb. 9 to go back to Phase One, but attached conditions to doing so — specifically that AFTRA agree to stop offering producers contracts at lower initial terms than SAG’s.

But AFTRA’s leaders have insisted they won’t discuss such conditions with SAG until after the deal with the AMPTP is signed.

SAG’s move Tuesday wasn’t a surprise, given that leaders of the AFL-CIO sided with AFTRA over SAG last week after hearing both unions present their positions. AFTRA board members were notified recently that they should expect the two unions to set a joint plenary to hammer out the final proposal to the AMPTP, followed by a joint negotiating committee meeting March 29.

Source: Variety

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