Maybe, just maybe the end is in sight for the contentious contract negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the major studios. SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a tentative two-year agreement that will go to the SAG national board for a vote Sunday. The 71-member board, which has been beset by its own internal politics, already had a video conference between LA and NYC scheduled. The joint statement is brief; the two say the details are being withheld until it's presented to the board. (Let the leaking begin.) Board approval would send the deal to SAG's 120,000 members to ratify and any talk of strikes would endat least, until the next round of contracts.
But numerous reports say the deal calls for a two-year agreement rather than three, which would put the renewal in line with the other unions instead of a year out in 2012. Of course, the time difference came about because this has dragged on so long.
Catch up on the last year of negotiations at our SAG channel
AFTRA, the smaller of the two performer unions, reached a deal with AMPTP last July but SAG refused, saying, among other things, that the contract wouldn't give the union jurisdiction over new media. The SAG board rejected the producers' "last, best, final" offer in February.
Little has changed? The LA Times' Company Town blog, which had the news before the official announcement, reports that the contract "contains some minor improvements over previous offers but is largely similar to the one studios presented to SAG nine months ago." If that's the case, the nine-month delay would come off as a waste of time and energy so expect some serious spin. LAT: "The agreement was hashed out after weeks of back-channel talks involving between SAG interim executive director David White and top media executives, principally Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) CEO Bob Iger and Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer." The compromise on timing was reached earlier this month.
By Staci D. Kramer