After negotiations that lasted the entire weekend, through Monday and well into the morning of July 4, SAG-AFTRA reached a new tentative deal with producers to avert a potential work stoppage that could have ground primetime TV and movie production to a halt.
“The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and have concluded negotiations and have reached a tentative agreement on terms for a new three-year collective bargaining agreement,” they said in a joint statement.
The tentative agreement between Hollywood’s largest performers union and the AMPTP bridged gaps on multiple issues that arose because of changes in the way video content is made and consumed.
Those included compensation for short seasons, such as the 8-to-10 episode runs of Netflix and HBO shows, as opposed to the 22-episode broadcast season, and relocation allowances for parts on Hollywood hits that shoot in places like Atlanta.
SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP extended talks three separate times after their contract originally expired midnight Friday, and finally cut a deal late Monday. Both sides had been negotiating under a media blackout and provided no details about the agreement.
Last Sunday, the guild’s national board of directors unanimously voted for a strike authorization referendum if a deal could not be reached by midnight Friday. Later that day, in letter posted on its website, SAG-AFTRA President and Chair of the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White blasted producers for “outrageous rollbacks” and said the guild would prepare to strike rather than succumb to “management’s onerous demands.”
“We have presented reasonable proposals to address the critical concerns facing our members and that are integral to making a living in this industry,” they wrote. “The AMPTP has responded with outrageous rollbacks that cut to the core of our basic terms and conditions. Despite our efforts, the AMPTP has failed to make sufficient progress on our most critical issues. The status quo is simply unacceptable and our members, standing together, will not give in to management’s onerous demands nor back down on our critical proposals.
However, shortly before the guild’s midnight deadline on Friday, both sides decided to extend talks — and then extended them again Saturday and Sunday, before going radio silent Monday. Soon after the dawn’s early light of July 4 they announced the agreement.
That’s similar what happened during the last negotiations between the two in 2014, when talks required three separate 24-hour extensions until a deal was done early on July 4. This one just required a few more hours of Independence Day talks than the 2014 negotiations.
This was the AMPTP’s second high-stakes negotiation in a matter of months. The producers’ organization cut a new deal with the Writers Guild of America early on May 2 after their contract expired May 1. Meanwhile, SAG-AFTRA has also been on strike against 11 video game companies since October representing voice actors.
Matt Donnelly contributed reporting to this story.