SAG-AFTRA Contract Talks Officially Begin Following “Astounding” Strike-Authorization Vote

SAG-AFTRA and the studios have begun negotiations for a new film and TV contract. The talks, which got underway Wednesday morning at the Sherman Oaks offices of the studios’ reps the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, come two days after the guild’s members voted 97.9% in favor of authorizing a strike if an acceptable deal isn’t reached by the end of the month.

The negotiations, which are being held under a media blackout, also come the day after the Directors Guild’s national board unanimously approved the DGA’s own new contract with the AMPTP, and on the 37th day of the Writers Guild strike.

Related Story

SAG-AFTRA Members Overwhelmingly Approve Strike Authorization

“Today, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP began formal negotiations for a new contract, and with the agreement that neither organization will comment to the media about the negotiations during the process.,” the two sides said in a joint statement.

Commenting on the “astounding” results of the strike-authorization vote, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland issued a joint statement Tuesday saying that “As we enter these negotiations, in good faith and with the intention of securing a strong deal for our members, this vote is a powerful signal to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that we’re ready for any eventuality. The stakes have never been higher: We need to ensure a future where members can make a living as a performer and are protected from the misuse of evolving technologies.

“Months of preparation have gone into our union’s initial proposals. Members voiced their concerns during our wages and working conditions process, which involved over 100 hours of collaborative discussions in meetings and videoconferences. The outcome is a proposal package that reflects both the needs of professional performers and the future of the industry.

“Our union’s strength lies in our solidarity, and we look forward to a future where this spirit of unity among creative professionals continues, not just throughout the negotiation process but in the years ahead.”

Prior to the strike authorization vote, the guild laid out some of its key bargaining issues, which include “economic fairness, residuals, regulating the use of artificial intelligence and alleviating the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-taping.”

With respect to economic fairness, the guild said that “Outdated contract terms, coupled with the evolution of the media business, including shorter season orders and longer hiatuses between seasons makes it increasingly difficult for our members to achieve and maintain a middle class lifestyle working as a performer. In sharp contrast to the diminishing compensation paid to our members, the studios are posting immense profits with a bullish outlook as demonstrated by lavish corporate executive compensation.

“SAG-AFTRA is committed to ensuring our members are able to make a living performing in scripted dramatic live action entertainment. This means ensuring increased compensation when our members work, shoring up the funding of our Health, Retirement, and Pension Plans, and providing our members a meaningful share of the economic value created by their performances.”

As for residuals, the guild said that “While new business models mean that more and more SAG-AFTRA content is monetized around the globe, residuals payments are failing to reflect the economic value of this exhibition. SAG-AFTRA is committed to ensuring residual payments both reflect the economic value of our members’ contribution, and serve as a meaningful source of performer earnings.

With respect to AI, the guild said that “Artificial intelligence has already proven to be a real and immediate threat to the work of our members and can mimic members’ voices, likenesses and performances. We must get agreement around acceptable uses, bargain protections against misuse, and ensure consent and fair compensation for the use of your work to train AI systems and create new performances. In their public statements and policy work, the companies have not shown a desire to take our members’ basic rights to our own voices and likenesses seriously.”

Self-taped auditions, meanwhile, “are unregulated and out of control,” the guild said. “Too many pages, too little time and unreasonable requirements have made self-taping auditions a massive, daily, uncompensated burden on the lives of performers. Reasonable rules and limitations, and access to other casting formats, are sorely needed to ensure fair access to work opportunities and protect performers against exploitation.”

The guild also said that “Many other important issues, including those specific to particular careers and categories, will be on the table as well.”

Following the guild’s strike authorization vote, the AMPTP said: “We are approaching these negotiations with the goal of achieving a new agreement that is beneficial to SAG-AFTRA members and the industry overall.”

SAG-AFTRA hasn’t struck the film and TV industry since the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012. Their last strike against the studios was in 1980 — a 95-day walkout that established contract terms for pay-TV and videocassettes.

Must Read Stories

Chris Licht Is Out As CNN Boss After Tumultuous 13-Month Tenure

Board Approves New Film & TV Contract; Members To Vote On Ratification This Week

Today’s New York Picketing Canceled Due To Hazardous Air Quality

‘Rise Of The Beasts’ Eyes $155M Global, But Spidey Could Bite U.S. Bow: Preview

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article