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SAG-AFTRA Film & TV Contract Talks Set To Begin Wednesday

Deadline logo Deadline 5/30/2017 David Robb
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Negotiations for a new SAG-AFTRA film and TV contract begin tomorrow – the last of the big three talent guild contract talks until 2020. The Directors Guild set the pattern of bargaining last December in its negotiations with management’s AMPTP, followed by the WGA’s deal earlier this month after the first real threat of an industry strike in a decade. IATSE and the Teamsters will get their turn next year.

As previously reported, preliminary talks to lay the groundwork for the negotiations began on May 17.

In a joint statement issued today, the SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said they will “commence negotiations on successor agreements to the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical contracts on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. The talks will take place at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, CA. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris will chair the union’s negotiating committee, and national executive director David White will serve as SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator. The lead negotiator for the AMPTP will be president Carol Lombardini. The upcoming negotiations will take place under a formal news blackout and neither party has further comment.”

The actors are expected to get a deal similar to the ones already ratified by the DGA and the WGA, including 2%-3% annual increases in minimums, significant hikes in residuals from high-budget SVOD series, higher pay rates for new media and new options and exclusivity provisions to address the new reality of shortened TV seasons.

Like the recent WGA talks, the SAG-AFTRA negotiations are being conducted under a so-called “media blackout.” But unlike the on-again, off-again WGA talks, which garnered considerably news coverage because of the guild’s repeated threats to strike, the SAG-AFTRA talks are expected to proceed smoothly – and quietly – until a deal is reached. The union’s current contract expires on June 30, so they have a month to reach an agreement.

SAG and AFTRA – they were two separate unions then – last struck the film and TV industry in 1980. That walkout lasted 95 days, though few are betting there’ll be strike this time around. The merged union, however, has shown its willingness to strike if it doesn’t get a fair deal: It’s currently locked in the longest job action in either union’s history – a 223-day strike against selected video game companies.

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