The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has rebuffed an entreaty from the president and chief negotiator of the Screen Actors Guild, asking that formal bargaining begin again in an effort to conclude a contract for actors.
SAG sent a letter to studio chiefs and the AMPTP's top negotiator Sept. 29, stating that “it is clear” members of the actors' union would not accept the current proposal, which has been on the table since June 30.
The SAG executives base that assertion on an informal poll of members, which came in the form of a postcard attached to a member mailing this summer. The text of the mailing asserted union management's position that SAG could and should do better than the offer from the studios. The offer mirrors the benefits agreed to by unions for writers, directors and the other actors' union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
About a fifth of SAG's memberships returned the cards and 87% checked the box that said to continue negotiating for a better contract.
The SAG letter to the AMPTP asserted that union leadership believes an agreement can be reached if three core issues can be negotiated, including the fate of actors who are held by contract to a production that has been suspended; contract coverage for new-media productions as small as those costing $15,000 a minute to produce; and residuals for new media productions that are re-used on new media. Other, smaller issues can be resolved once these are negotiated, the letter said.
SAG is prepared to meet formally and continuously, the letter said, concluding “What do you say: When can our committees meet face-to-face?”
But the official response from the AMPTP said the guild's offer is unchanged, and disputed the SAG letter's assertion that only three issues remain.
“We do not believe that it would be productive to resume negotiations at this time given SAG's continued insistence on terms which the Companies have repeatedly rejected,” the letter said.
The AMPTP letter said that guild greatly values the industry's talent, adding it hopes its final offer can be the basis for an agreement.
SAG's contract expired on June 30.