Dec 05, 2020
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SAG, majors meet for contract talks

SAG’s bitter contract stalemate with the majors looks like it will stay that way.

Negotiators met face-to-face Thursday in the first official meeting in over four months but progress appears to have been negligible.

Neither side had any comment about the confab orchestrated by federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez at AMPTP headquarters. But people familiar with the meeting disclosed that it consisted of little more than each side re-stating its positions.

Gonzalez emphasized at the start of the meeting that the proceedings would be confidential. It appears Gonzalez will probably notify both sides as to the next step within the next day or so.

Expectations remain low that the mediation will lead to a deal. The Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers have stressed they haven’t changed their negotiating postures, with SAG demanding a better deal than the other Hollywood unions and the congloms are insisting they won’t change terms of their June 30 final offer.

Among labor insiders, the only optimism that a deal can be reached comes from the recent lack of verbal fireworks from either side and SAG’s willingness to put a strike authorization vote on hold while the mediation process plays out. But the negotiators achieved minimal progress in more than 40 sessions between April and July.

Each side received a boost in their negotiating positions prior to the meeting.

The AMPTP concluded negotiations Wednesday on a tentative three-year deal with IATSE. That prompted the congloms to note that it was the sixth such master contract it had reached this year including deals with the DGA, WGA, casting directors and two pacts with AFTRA.

As for SAG, its stance of insisting it’s entitled to sweeter terms than the other unions was bolstered Wednesday as the WGA blasting the AMPTP by accusing the companies of nonpayment of new-media residuals — an assertion denied by the companies, which said the WGA is wrong about the applicable dates in the contract.

Should the mediation fail, SAG’s negotiating committee could ask the guild’s 120,000 members for a strike authorization. That’s a potentially embarrassing step for guild leaders since members who cast ballots might might not back the authorization by the 75% level needed for the guild to go out on strike — particularly while the economy continues to implode.

Supporters of seeking going the strike authorization have pointed to a September postcard poll of SAG members in which 87% of the respondents endorsed holding out for a better deal.

The final decision on striking would rest with the national board, in which control shifted to a more moderate faction in September elections. New York reps, who are part of that coalition, had sought mediation a month earlier but the been spurned by SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg on grounds that mediation hadn’t worked during the WGA negotiations.

Gonzalez had no success a year ago as a mediator in trying to prevent the WGA strike. Thursday’s SAG-AMPTP session marked the one-year anniversary of the WGA’s solidarity march on Hollywood Boulevard, an event that drew about 4,000 supporters.

Should the mediation process crater, a SAG strike could be called as early as January. That could imperil the Jan. 11 Golden Globes — which saw this year’s awards show reduced to a news conference after SAG said its members would not cross WGA picket lines.

Source: Variety

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Front Page, Headline

SAG, majors meet for contract talks

SAG’s bitter contract stalemate with the majors looks like it will stay that way.

Negotiators met face-to-face Thursday in the first official meeting in over four months but progress appears to have been negligible.

Neither side had any comment about the confab orchestrated by federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez at AMPTP headquarters. But people familiar with the meeting disclosed that it consisted of little more than each side re-stating its positions.

Gonzalez emphasized at the start of the meeting that the proceedings would be confidential. It appears Gonzalez will probably notify both sides as to the next step within the next day or so.

Expectations remain low that the mediation will lead to a deal. The Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers have stressed they haven’t changed their negotiating postures, with SAG demanding a better deal than the other Hollywood unions and the congloms are insisting they won’t change terms of their June 30 final offer.

Among labor insiders, the only optimism that a deal can be reached comes from the recent lack of verbal fireworks from either side and SAG’s willingness to put a strike authorization vote on hold while the mediation process plays out. But the negotiators achieved minimal progress in more than 40 sessions between April and July.

Each side received a boost in their negotiating positions prior to the meeting.

The AMPTP concluded negotiations Wednesday on a tentative three-year deal with IATSE. That prompted the congloms to note that it was the sixth such master contract it had reached this year including deals with the DGA, WGA, casting directors and two pacts with AFTRA.

As for SAG, its stance of insisting it’s entitled to sweeter terms than the other unions was bolstered Wednesday as the WGA blasting the AMPTP by accusing the companies of nonpayment of new-media residuals — an assertion denied by the companies, which said the WGA is wrong about the applicable dates in the contract.

Should the mediation fail, SAG’s negotiating committee could ask the guild’s 120,000 members for a strike authorization. That’s a potentially embarrassing step for guild leaders since members who cast ballots might might not back the authorization by the 75% level needed for the guild to go out on strike — particularly while the economy continues to implode.

Supporters of seeking going the strike authorization have pointed to a September postcard poll of SAG members in which 87% of the respondents endorsed holding out for a better deal.

The final decision on striking would rest with the national board, in which control shifted to a more moderate faction in September elections. New York reps, who are part of that coalition, had sought mediation a month earlier but the been spurned by SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg on grounds that mediation hadn’t worked during the WGA negotiations.

Gonzalez had no success a year ago as a mediator in trying to prevent the WGA strike. Thursday’s SAG-AMPTP session marked the one-year anniversary of the WGA’s solidarity march on Hollywood Boulevard, an event that drew about 4,000 supporters.

Should the mediation process crater, a SAG strike could be called as early as January. That could imperil the Jan. 11 Golden Globes — which saw this year’s awards show reduced to a news conference after SAG said its members would not cross WGA picket lines.

Source: Variety

Leave a Reply

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

Front Page, Headline

SAG, majors meet for contract talks

SAG’s bitter contract stalemate with the majors looks like it will stay that way.

Negotiators met face-to-face Thursday in the first official meeting in over four months but progress appears to have been negligible.

Neither side had any comment about the confab orchestrated by federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez at AMPTP headquarters. But people familiar with the meeting disclosed that it consisted of little more than each side re-stating its positions.

Gonzalez emphasized at the start of the meeting that the proceedings would be confidential. It appears Gonzalez will probably notify both sides as to the next step within the next day or so.

Expectations remain low that the mediation will lead to a deal. The Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers have stressed they haven’t changed their negotiating postures, with SAG demanding a better deal than the other Hollywood unions and the congloms are insisting they won’t change terms of their June 30 final offer.

Among labor insiders, the only optimism that a deal can be reached comes from the recent lack of verbal fireworks from either side and SAG’s willingness to put a strike authorization vote on hold while the mediation process plays out. But the negotiators achieved minimal progress in more than 40 sessions between April and July.

Each side received a boost in their negotiating positions prior to the meeting.

The AMPTP concluded negotiations Wednesday on a tentative three-year deal with IATSE. That prompted the congloms to note that it was the sixth such master contract it had reached this year including deals with the DGA, WGA, casting directors and two pacts with AFTRA.

As for SAG, its stance of insisting it’s entitled to sweeter terms than the other unions was bolstered Wednesday as the WGA blasting the AMPTP by accusing the companies of nonpayment of new-media residuals — an assertion denied by the companies, which said the WGA is wrong about the applicable dates in the contract.

Should the mediation fail, SAG’s negotiating committee could ask the guild’s 120,000 members for a strike authorization. That’s a potentially embarrassing step for guild leaders since members who cast ballots might might not back the authorization by the 75% level needed for the guild to go out on strike — particularly while the economy continues to implode.

Supporters of seeking going the strike authorization have pointed to a September postcard poll of SAG members in which 87% of the respondents endorsed holding out for a better deal.

The final decision on striking would rest with the national board, in which control shifted to a more moderate faction in September elections. New York reps, who are part of that coalition, had sought mediation a month earlier but the been spurned by SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg on grounds that mediation hadn’t worked during the WGA negotiations.

Gonzalez had no success a year ago as a mediator in trying to prevent the WGA strike. Thursday’s SAG-AMPTP session marked the one-year anniversary of the WGA’s solidarity march on Hollywood Boulevard, an event that drew about 4,000 supporters.

Should the mediation process crater, a SAG strike could be called as early as January. That could imperil the Jan. 11 Golden Globes — which saw this year’s awards show reduced to a news conference after SAG said its members would not cross WGA picket lines.

Source: Variety

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