SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood producers late Monday bought themselves more time as they work on a new deal. With their existing pact set to expire at midnight, both parties agreed to a 24-hour extension less than an hour before it ran out, after negotiating through the day and into the night.
Representatives for SAG-AFTRA and Alliance of Motion Picture, Television Producers have been at the bargaining table since May 5 and have yet to come up with a deal on a new primetime TV and feature film contract. They’ll be back at it Tuesday, and the performers union’s roughly 165,000 members will continue to work under the existing three-year contract.
The two sides have instituted a news blackout, and issued no progress reports. That strategy worked for the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, both of which signed off on new three-year deals earlier this year.
That the SAG-AFTRA talks are taking some extra time isn’t surprising.
Prior to their 2012 merger, the two guilds negotiated jointly, but this is the first time they’ve entered bargaining as a single union. Their leadership has expressed a desire to merge the separate SAG and AFTRA health and pension plans, and that has to be complex. The guild also wants to bring uniformity to TV contracts, which still operate under terms negotiated by the former separate unions.
Beyond that, the terms of the contract are likely to be modeled on those reached by the DGA and WGA, which included modest pay hikes and increased contributions to the unions’ pension plans.
The lengthy talks are in contrast to the last round of bargaining. In 2010, the two unions reached an agreement nearly eight months prior to expiration. They were the first to make a deal in that cycle, and were followed by the DGA and the WGA.