The union told members that top studio leaders ‘have asked us to return to the table’
SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood’s major studios will return to the bargaining table Tuesday, nearly two weeks after management halted talks saying the two sides are too far apart. The union’s negotiating committee confirmed in a message to members that the call to resume talks came from management.
“It is clear that the strength and solidarity shown by our members has sent an unmistakable message to the CEO. As we have said repeatedly, we are ready, willing, and able to meet at a moment’s notice and work across the table to achieve a deal worthy of your sacrifices,” the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee wrote.
News of the resumption of talks came in a brief joint statement from SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Saturday afternoon. At least some executive leaders from AMPTP member companies will also be present, the statement said. It comes like this SAG-AFTRA’s first industry-wide strike in more than 40 years marks 100 days.
“SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP will meet for bargaining on Tuesday, October 24 at the SAG-AFTRA Plaza. Many officials of AMPTP member companies will be present.
The return to bargaining comes as internal pressure is mounting on SAG-AFTRA leadership to find a way to resolve contract negotiations and is the union’s first industry-wide strike since the 1980s. George Clooney, an A-lister with a checkered history with Hollywood unions, emerged this week with an alternative proposal to secure higher streaming residuals. This caused consternation among the top brass of SAG-AFTRA as it became a clear sign of unease in the ranks.
AMPTP surprised SAG-AFTRA late on October 11 when it suddenly announced a “pause” in negotiations because the two sides were so far apart on key issues. Studio leaders were more than a little irritated that Hollywood’s four most senior executives spent five full days in bargaining sessions with the artists’ union without being able to bridge major gaps. Union leaders Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland resumed picketing activity and conducted a media tour to warn the studios that the terms of the agreement on the table on October 11 were not sufficient to end the strike.
The resumption of talks also comes up against a ticking clock for the opportunity to shoot any new TV episodes or movies before the year ends. Even before the SAG-AFTRA negotiations with AMPTP took a turn for the worse, industry insiders were eyeing the week of November 6 for some filming, especially on TV projects that were almost ready to start at the time of the WGAs. The summer of strikes began on 2 May.
The four leaders attending the contract conference with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav. It’s not immediately clear whether the quartet will regroup for a new round with SAG-AFTRA or if there will be new faces at the table.
Here is the full memo from the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee:
As we mark the 100th day of our strike, we are pleased to confirm that company officials have asked us to return to the table. Official talks will resume on Tuesday, October 24.
It is clear that the strength and solidarity shown by our members has sent an unmistakable message to the CEO. As we have said repeatedly, we are ready, willing, and able to meet and work across the table at a moment’s notice to achieve a deal worthy of your sacrifice. That includes this morning, as our biennial SAG-AFTRA convention gets underway.
There is likely to be a lot of interest and potential noise in our conversations over the coming days. Do not believe anything you hear unless it comes from Us.
We are focused.
We are determined.
We will not waver.
one day more.
One day stronger.
as long as it takes.
Your TV/Theatrical Talk Committee