SAG-AFTRA agreed to a last-minute invitation for federal mediation in its contract, but indicated that it would not extend the deadline for deciding whether to strike past Wednesday at midnight.
This appears to leave relatively little time for the broker to avoid the strike, which could begin as early as Thursday morning.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the federation confirmed that “time is running out” and explained that relations between the two sides had become very tense.
“AMPTP has abused our trust and damaged the respect we have for them in the process,” the union said. “We will not be manipulated by this cynical ploy of engineering an extension when companies have more than enough time to strike a fair deal.”
The Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance has proposed hiring the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help broker an agreement. Disney’s Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Apple’s Zack Van Amburg held phone calls Monday during which they agreed to a plan to seek mediation.
High-level agents, including CAA’s Brian Lord and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, have also been active in trying to get both sides to make progress.
“We’re here to get a deal that guarantees our members a living wage in our broad industry, we help make our work possible,” the union said in its statement. “AMPTP can make this happen at any time. They know what our members need and when they bring that to the table, we’ll listen, but it’s important to know — time is running out.”
The SAG-AFTRA strike will stop the production of TV shows and scripted films conducted by AMPTP companies worldwide.
SAG-AFTRA members who volunteered to be strike captains were outside the picket lines Tuesday to receive training from their Writers Guild of America brethren.
The SAG-AFTRA contract was initially set to expire on June 30, but was extended by 12 days after the two sides agreed to continue trying to make progress. While there have been agreements in some areas, there are still significant differences, including around artificial intelligence and tailings flow.
SAG-AFTRA is also seeking a significant pay rise and more money for pension and health plans.
On Monday, the SAG-AFTRA leadership convened a meeting of entertainment advertisers, where they set out the rules should a strike be called. Actors and other performers will be prohibited not only from going on set, but also from giving interviews to promote their work.
The WGA has been on strike since May 2.
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