As the deadline for the SAG-AMPTP contract negotiation looms overhead, the actors’ union president Alan Rosenberg has released a statement in an attempt to allay fears of a possible strike.
“We have taken no steps to initiate a strike authorisation vote by the members of Screen Actors Guild. Any talk about a strike or a management lockout at this point is simply a distraction. The Screen Actors Guild national negotiating committee is coming to the bargaining table every day in good faith to negotiate a fair contract for actors.”
It is widely known that all parties are waiting to hear the results of the AFTRA deal ratification vote on 8 July. If the members of the smaller union decide to go forward with what many see as an inferior deal, it places the SAG as the only union that has yet to negotiate a contract of similar terms to those accepted by the WGA and DGA earlier this year.
The negotiation process for what the SAG has dubbed ‘Contract 08’ has become increasingly bitter over the last few months. AFTRA and the SAG, which have over 40,000 dual members between the two of them, have historically brokered deals in partnership with each other. However, following accusations of member poaching from the smaller representative organisation, the two negotiated separately. The SAG has since instigated a campaign to convince AFTRA members not to ratify the contract on 8 July, while both sides on the labour line continue to become more and more fractured.
In order for a strike to take place, SAG must seek an authorisation vote from its members, with 75 per cent of the members approving in order to call a labour walkout. Whereas the WGA strikes deeply affected television production earlier this year, an SAG labour dispute would virtually shut down film production. The main source of dispute over the renewal of the contracts this year, for all parties, has been the issue of New Media. The unions claim that they are entitled to a share of residuals for content streamed over the internet, as well as clips of their members’ work used in promotional materials. The producers, however, are claiming that the internet is still an untested market, and that more time is needed to adequately assess the level of engagement from the public, and revenue creation that this entails.
We will continue to bring you more updates on this story as we receive them.