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SAG-AFTRA Kicks Off Contract Negotiations With Hollywood Film and TV Producers

Talks will be conducted via video teleconference

SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers said on Friday that they will start negotiations on Monday for successor agreements to the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical contracts.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and state government stay-at-home orders, both sides said that talks will be conducted via video teleconference.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris will chair the union’s negotiating committee and National Executive Director David White will serve as SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator. The lead negotiator for the AMPTP will be President Carol Lombardini.

The parties also announced that the upcoming negotiations will be conducted under a formal media blackout.

Earlier on Friday, SAG-AFTRA said it was “working directly” with studios to discuss the “applicability of Force Majeure language” in members’ contracts during production shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Late on Thursday, the union posted a message titled “Member Update Regarding Force Majeure” on its website. The note for members said SAG-AFTRA is in ongoing discussions with employers about these clauses, which cover unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract — like a pandemic.

Since the coronavirus — which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11 — has forced production shutdowns on almost every film and television series, actors have been left with uncertainty regarding how long they are under obligation to a project that may not be able to pick back up for months and may not be paying them in the meantime.