“Deliberations are going well.” That’s the takeaway from negotiations this week (see the full comment below) as SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continue with renewed talks over a new three-year contract. On yet another positive note, the two sides plan to meet again on Friday and next week.
As for the talks so far this week, in attendance at SAG-AFTRA’s Wilshire headquarters were four key CEO’s on the studio side – NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Disney’s Bob Iger – as well as AMPTP boss Carol Lombardini, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and SAG-AFTRA’s longtime Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez.
“SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP met for a full day bargaining session and have concluded,” the parties said in a joint statement to SAG-AFTRA members on Wednesday. “Negotiations will continue Friday, October 6, with the parties working internally over the weekend, resuming Monday, October 9.”
As they did Monday, SAG-AFTRA leadership sat down with studio CEOs and AMPTP boss Carol Lombardini Wednesday to move forward on ending the actors’ strike, which has reached its 85th day.
Negotiations Proceeding “Calmly”
“This is senior people sitting down together and the deliberations are going well,” said an industry insider to Deadline. “Everyone is conducting themselves calmly.”
According to Deadline, Friday’s sit-down will be followed by deliberations among the respective principals over the weekend before formal talks between both sides resume on Monday, October 9 — the same day the WGA’s vote on ratifying their tentative agreement with the studios ends. After nearly five months on strike and five days late last month of final negotiations, that vote is widely expected to pass by an overwhelming majority from WGA members.
What Are the Key Issues on the Table?
Simply put, SAG-AFTRA members are demanding better pay and increased safeguarding around AI rights.
More specifically, in this latest round of talks, SAG-AFTRA’s proposal of revenue sharing has continued to prove a tricky challenge, according to Deadline. As it has since the parties’ first set of negotiations in July, the actors guild wants the casts of successful streaming shows to receive 2% of profits. As they have since this summer and consistently since SAG-AFTRA went out on strike on July 14, the AMPTP have rejected the proposal due to differences over analytics and their take on the overall business model of streaming.
All that being said, hopes remain high and resolution remains strong within the actors’ union.
With members again out on the picket lines this week, SAG-AFTRA on Tuesday afternoon posted a message from Crabtree-Ireland, the TV/theatrical negotiating committee, strike captains and lot coordinators at the Warner Bros pickets in Burbank to celebrate the return to talks and that the union is “SAG-AFTRA strong.” “We’re going to bring this home,” Crabtree-Ireland said in the post, while urging members to continue at the pickets and solidarity events.
The message from SAG-AFTRA is clear as the strike and these hopeful negotiations move forward: “One Day Longer. One Day Stronger. As long as it takes.”
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