Union tells members senior studio leaders ‘asked us to come back to the table’
SAG-AFTRA and major Hollywood studios will return to the negotiating table on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after the management side called for a halt to talks, saying the two sides were too far apart. The union negotiating committee confirmed in a message to members that the communication to resume talks came from the administrative side.
“It is clear that the strength and solidarity demonstrated by our members has sent an unambiguous message to the CEOs. As we have said time and time again, we are ready, willing and able to step in at any moment to come together and work across the table to reach an agreement worthy of your sacrifices.
News of the resumption of negotiations came Saturday afternoon in a short joint statement from SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. At least some executive leaders from AMPTP member companies will also be present, the statement noted. It comes as the first industry-wide SAG-AFTRA strike in more than 40 years reaches the 100-day mark.
“SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP will meet to bargain on Tuesday, October 24 at SAG-AFTRA Plaza. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will be in attendance.
The return to bargaining comes as internal pressure mounts on SAG-AFTRA’s leadership to find a way to resolve contract talks and the union’s first industry-wide strike since 1980. George Clooney, an A-list star with a bumpy history with Hollywood unions, emerged this week with an alternative proposal to secure… Top flow waste. That ruffled feathers among SAG-AFTRA’s top brass as it became a clear sign of unease in the ranks.
The AMPTP surprised SAG-AFTRA late on October 11 when it suddenly announced a “pause” in the talks because the two sides were simply too far apart on key issues. Studio leaders were a bit upset that four top Hollywood executives spent five full days in bargaining sessions with the performers’ union without being able to bridge key gaps. Union leaders, Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, accelerated picket activity and undertook a media tour to warn the studios that the terms of the deal on the table as of October 11 were not sufficient to end the strike.
The resumption of talks also comes at a time when the opportunity to film any new TV episodes or films before the end of the year is knocking. Before SAG-AFTRA’s talks with AMPTP took a sharp turn for the worse, industry insiders were eyeing the week of November 6 as a possible date to get some filming done, especially on television projects that were almost ready to go when the WGA summer of strikes began on May 2.
The four leaders who were at the secret contract meeting with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA were Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and Warner Bros.’ David Zaslav. It’s not immediately clear if this foursome will regroup for the new tour with SAG-AFTRA or if new faces will be at the table.
Below is the full SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee memo:
As we mark the 100th day of our strike, we are pleased to confirm that company executives have asked us to return to the table. Formal negotiations are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, October 24.
It is clear that the strength and solidarity shown by our members has sent an unambiguous message to CEOs. As we have said repeatedly, we are ready, willing and able to engage at any moment to come together and work across the table to achieve an agreement worthy of your sacrifices. Including this morning, just as the semi-annual SAG-AFTRA convention is underway.
In the coming days, there will likely be a lot of interest and perhaps hype surrounding our conversations. Do not believe anything you hear until it comes from us.
We are focused.
We are determined.
We will not hesitate.
One day longer.
One day stronger.
Whatever it takes.
Television/Theatrical Negotiating Committee