With the writers strike barely behind us, the next looming nightmare on the horizon is the expiration of the actor’s contracts. SAG (The Screen Actors Guild) will have its collective agreement with the AMPTP (The producers) expire in June and will then be in position to strike. Yes… another strike with the potential to be a hell of a lot worse than the writers strike.
The one good thing is that everyone seems to be sick and tired of this situation and is putting the pressure on SAG to start negotiations with the Producers asap. The leadership of SAG has publicly stated that they won’t start negotiating with the producers until at least April. This has everyone on the planet screaming “WHY THE HELL NOT BEFORE APRIL!?!” to which no good reply has been given.
It’s so bad, that another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) is threatening to break away from SAG and start negotiations on their own with the producers. Variety gives us this:
AFTRA is telling the Screen Actors Guild to stop dragging its feet — and warning that it’s willing to start negotiations as early as this month without SAG. The move by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is the latest indication of the town’s increasing frustration over SAG’s refusal to schedule formal negotiations with the AMPTP as soon as possible, given the recently completed 100-day Writers Guild strike and the looming June 30 expiration of the SAG-AFTRA film-primetime contract.
AFTRA had no further comment. But Kimbrough’s move signals that AFTRA’s still willing to go solo in talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over its primetime TV deal (Daily Variety, Feb. 4) — a move that would diminish SAG’s leverage at the bargaining table since it’s presumed that AFTRA would offer producers deals at more favorable terms.
So now you have unions dividing. During the writers strike, my biggest criticism for either side was all the time spent AWAY from the table. There is no excuse for that, especially when you consider that your fight is harming other people. Sit at the table, and bloody well stay at the table until movement starts. No progress is ever made when no one is talking. SAG has some important issues they want addressed in the new round of negotiations with the producers, and rightfully so… but there is no good reason to delay talks. AFTRA understands this… and hopefully sanity returns and the leadership of SAG (because a lot of the SAG members already know this) and they’ll understand it too.