SAG, AFTRA Members To Review Contract Details

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Members of the boards of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists will get a look March 29 at contract points developed by a joint committee of their members, which is the next step in creating the deal package the two unions are expected to present to producers.

The unions will bargain jointly with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The current SAG contract expires July 1, and the AMPTP has asked to begin negotiations on April 1.

The run-up to contract talks has been closely monitored by union members and outsiders alike.

In the wake of the costly strike by the Writers Guild of America, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been in contact with the unions, pleading for the guilds to negotiate a new contract expeditiously. The WGA strike cost the Los Angeles economy $2.5 billion, according to the mayor.

"As the national economy continues to weaken, there is little doubt that another work stoppage within the industry would have devastating economic effects," Villaraigosa said in a statement. "We must keep this town working, and avoid devastating effects on the workers, businesses, residents and economy of this great city," he added.

The AMPTP issued a statement indicating a desire to begin negotiations as soon as possible.

"Actors and producers alike have an obligation to work as hard as we can, as soon as we can, to prevent another unnecessary, harmful strike," said an AMPTP statement.

The talks will hinge on the same issues addressed by the writers: actors want a share of the revenues derived from digital downloading and other Internet applications.

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