UPDATE: The studio’s main negotiating group, the AMPTP responded to SAG’s letter (response below), rejecting the union’s call for a meeting and saying that they weren’t changing the deal on the table: take it or leave it?
This puts the Screen Actors Guild in a tough spot. It’s been three months since the union’s last contract expired, negotiations have basically ceased and none of the union members want to strike. Does this mean they’ve finally been forced to accept the studios’ final offer?
September 29, 2008
Dear Alan and Doug:
This is in response to your letter dated September 29, 2008 to Peter Chernin,
Robert Iger and me. Your letter indicates that the Screen Actors Guild is not
prepared to change its position on any of the threshold issues in our
negotiations. The Guild’s position remains unchanged since we last met on July
16, 2008. Further, in addition to new media, there are a number of significant
issues which, in and of themselves, prevent the parties from reaching agreement.
Our Final Offer to the Screen Actors Guild is comparable to our agreements with
the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America and AFTRA. Our
Final Offer memorializes a set of compromises, including in the area of new
media, worked out with other Guilds and Unions and particularly addresses actor
specific issues raised during the Screen Actors Guild negotiations.
We do not believe that it would be productive to resume negotiations at this
time given SAG’s continued insistence on terms which the Companies have
In light of the unprecedented economic difficulties facing our industry and the
nation, the Companies continue to hope that the Guild’s leadership will
recognise the five major labour agreements that have already been concluded this
year and will accept our Final Offer while it remains on the table.
We want to reemphasize that we value greatly our industry’s talent – the
directors, writers, actors, and below-the-line people who create entertainment
products for audiences around the world – and hope that our Final Offer can
serve as the basis of an agreement.
J. Nicholas Counter III
EARLIER: Nikki Finke is reporting that the Screen Actors Guild sent the following letter to Bob Iger, Peter Chernin and the head of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) today to restart negotiations between the actors and studios over the SAG contract both sides were unable to reach an agreement on three months ago.
Both Iger and Chernin played key roles in resolving the writers’ strike, but given their early dismissal of SAG’s belief that they should get a better contract than the writers, directors and AFTRA agreed to earlier this year, we doubt they’ll be willing to help Doug Allen and Alan Rosenberg, who are still insisting that SAG get a better deal. But perhaps they’ll recognise that it’s about time the actors had a new contract.
Letter from Deadline Hollywood Daily:
We believe it is clear that our members would fail to ratify your proposal of June 30, 2008. It would serve no productive purpose, therefore, to send our membership a proposal that SAG’s National Negotiating Committee and National Board have rejected and that our membership would not ratify.
It is our fervent hope that this news will encourage you and your colleagues to reengage in formal bargaining, with the exchange of proposals and compromise by both sides necessary to reach an agreement.
Our discussions with you and many of your colleagues since formal talks ended have educated both of our teams about our respective priorities and flexibilities. As we have said to SAG members members, if we can reach agreement on three threshold issues, we believe we can finish these negotiations. One issue you brought to the table: force majeure protection for actors held by contract to a suspended production. Two issues we have identified as core principles: coverage for all new media productions (including those below $15,000/minute) and residuals for made-for new media productions re-used on new media. Other issues divide us, certainly, but we believe those other issues can be successfully addressed once we have resolved these three threshold issues. We have approached these contract negotiations reasonably and with a realistic and informed view of the state of the industry.
We are prepared to meet formally and continuously until we reach agreement. We owe it to our constituencies and the thousands of others in this industry that depend on a productive, stable and uninterrupted relationship between Screen Actors Guild and the networks and studios.
The alternative to reaching an agreement as soon as possible is unnecessary and destructive uncertainty. If your intransigence continues, however, our choices become harder and fewer. We would prefer the more complicated and productive choices that compromise will make necessary. But we can’t make those choices that lead to agreement working alone.
What do you say; when can our committees meet face-to-face?”
Alan Rosenberg Doug Allen
National President National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator
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