No hope yet for AMPTP, SAG negotiations


The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) are still “far apart” in negotiations for a new contract, the AMPTP said late last week. The two orgs began negotiations on 4/15, before breaking off for the AMPTP to begin scheduled discussions with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

Said AMPTP: “We are frustrated and discouraged that on June 12, with 18 days left in the month, SAG’s Hollywood leadership is already saying that it’s unlikely a deal will be made by June 30th. We hope that this statement does not signal the intention of SAG’s Hollywood leaders to bring our industry to a halt. We remain committed to working as hard as we can to reach our fifth labor agreement of 2008 by June 30th.
To date, our SAG negotiations have been unsuccessful for three reasons:

First, while we have made some progress with SAG, we are still far apart on fundamental issues.  Since resuming these talks on May 28th, we have continued to provide additional information to SAG on subjects that have already been comprehensively discussed throughout these negotiations.  We remain committed to making a fair and reasonable agreement before the June 30th deadline and are pushing ahead despite the rallies, meetings and events to which SAG’s Hollywood leadership has recently devoted considerable time and energy (often during hours that are usually reserved for negotiations).  Unfortunately, these side-shows — distractions which SAG’s Hollywood leaders appear committed to perpetuating – will not help our industry reach our fifth 2008 labor agreement by June 30th.  We hope that SAG will focus on making a deal with us rather than diverting its energies to interfering with the affairs of a fellow union.

Second, although SAG has said that it was willing to work within the industry’s now well-established new media framework, inside the negotiating room SAG’s Hollywood leaders have continued to propose many changes to the framework — some of which would go a long way toward making the framework itself unworkable. The Producers’ position has been that there is no valid reason to upend the new media framework that has already been accepted during four other separate negotiations this year.  

Third, SAG’s Hollywood leadership has continued to demand increases in traditional media compensation that would result in enormous additional financial burdens.  The SAG Basic and TV Agreements are mature labor pacts for mature businesses. In such circumstances employers in other industries typically negotiate reductions and efficiencies to reduce costs.  We are not seeking to do this, and have instead proposed fair and reasonable economic increases that have already led to agreements in 2008 with DGA, WGA, AFTRA Network Code, and AFTRA Exhibit A. 

In short, the AMPTP remains committed to avoiding another harmful, unnecessary strike and to reaching another equitable and forward-looking labor agreements – just as we have done four other times already in 2008.”