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SAG-AFTRA, Producers Extend Contract Negotiations for a Third Time

Variety logo Variety 7/3/2017 Dave McNary
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SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood’s production companies have agreed to extend the union’s current contract for a third day and continue bargaining.

The extension was announced late Sunday by both sides without comment after more than a month of bargaining at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Both sides have agreed on three consecutive nights — starting with Friday, June 30 — to negotiate past the expiration of the current three year deal. That’s held off SAG-AFTRA from moving towards a strike authorization vote by union members.

SAG-AFTRA said on June 25 that it would seek a strike authorization if it could not reach a deal by June 30. But it gave no timetable for doing so, and the back-to-back-to-back extensions indicate that negotiators have been moving closer to agreement.

The current scenario is similar to that in 2014, when SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP agreed to three consecutive 24-hour extensions after the contract expired before announcing an agreement in the early hours of July 4. But there’s still no guarantee that an agreement will result.

Hollywood has been on high alert about a possible strike in the wake of the SAG-AFTRA national board voting unanimously on June 25 to seek a strike authorization from its membership unless a deal was reached by the expiration of the current contract. The leaders said at that point that the AMPTP had been pushing for “outrageous rollbacks” in the negotiations — but never disclosed what the specifics were.

The contract covers work by SAG-AFTRA members in primetime television and feature films and generates more than $1 billion in annual compensation. The union has about 160,000 members.

The Writers Guild of America reached a three-year deal with the AMPTP on May 1, less than an hour before the guild’s contract expired. The WGA already had a strike authorization with 96% support from members two weeks earlier.

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