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SAG-AFTRA To Meet With Studios Starting Monday

Union experts told the Globe while an agreement soon is likely, a new negotiation soon shouldn’t be counted on

By Evan Symon, September 29, 2023 2:27 am

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television (SAG-AFTRA) announced on Thursday that negotiations for a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are to resume on Monday.

The SAG-AFTRA strike, which started on July 14th and has currently lasted 76 days, has been at a standstill with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for months. Negotiations over better residual fees for streaming service programs, overall better pay, and strict regulation on the use of artificial intelligence have been slow to progress, mirroring the first several months of the largely concurrent WGA strike.

However, while the SAG-AFTRA strike has remained unsettled, the WGA reached a tentative agreement over the weekend, ending what was a 146-day-long strike. While a formal vote on the new contract has not yet happened, productions on shows featuring non-actors have resumed, with many talk shows expected to be back beginning next week.

Shortly after the end of the WGA strike, AMPTP studio executives immediately began reaching out towards SAG-AFTRA lead negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland for new negotiations. After a few days of back and forth, including moving theĀ  location of the negotiations from the AMPTP headquarters to the SAG-AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles, a new date to begin negotiations was finally set for October 2nd.

“SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP will meet for bargaining on Monday, Oct. 2. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will be in attendance,” said the union on Thursday. “As negotiations proceed, we will report any substantiative updates directly to you. We appreciate the incredible displays of solidarity and support from all of you over the last 76 days of this strike. We urge you to continue coming out to the picket lines in strength and big numbers every day!”

Union experts told the Globe on Thursday that while an agreement soon is likely, a new negotiation soon shouldn’t be counted on.

“There are still a lot of tussles over residuals and AI,” said Theresa Stevenson, an arbitrator in Michigan who has helped settled union disputes and strikes in the past. “This is something that needs to be really worked on by both sides. The writers are coming back, but a lot of shows and movies still need this strike settled to for everything to normalize.

“We’re really finishing off 2023 as a major strike year. SAG-AFTRA and UAW, right now, are the largest unsettled strikes. SAG-AFTRA can hold out until next year if they have to, while the UAW only has enough to pay workers until around November. So, for the actors, there won’t be as much urgency. But, based on what the studios said, this is still really important and they want this settled ASAP.

“A new agreement will likely be struck soon. There’s too much for both sides right now. But I would not be surprised if they manage to extend it out a bit longer than people would think. There’s a lot there.”

More on the strike negotiations is expected to come in next week.

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