The Motion Picture Editors Guild announced on Thursday that the post-production editorial team of “Saturday Night Live” is planning to strike on April 1 after the union failed to reach an agreement with NBCUniversal.
Last October, about 20 post-production editors who work on pretaped sketches and segments for the famed late-night comedy show unionized with the Editors Guild, which is also known as IATSE Local 700. The guild sent a contract proposal in December that NBCU responded to the following month, but the Editors Guild said that the counterproposal was not sufficient.
The Editors Guild has criticized NBC for paying its editors “far below industry standards,” with assistant editors receiving pay that is a “fraction” of their unionized counterparts. The guild also criticized NBC’s refusal to make wage raises in their counterproposal retroactive to the start of the show’s season this past fall and pushing for a “management clause” that is not in contracts for other NBC shows would allow NBCU to subcontract work to non-union workers and unilaterally change working conditions.
“The season is almost over. Not only is NBCU saying no to the union’s reasonable proposals – by offering annual increases that lag behind industry standards, they’re pushing for a deal that ignores the soaring cost of living and moves the crew backward in future years,” the guild said in a Twitter thread. “NBCU claims they, too, want to reach an agreement. But we’re nearing the end of the season, and talks drag on.”
While “Saturday Night Live” has been affected by industry-wide work stoppages such as the 2007-08 Writers Guild strike, this would be the first show-specific strike to hit the show in its nearly 50-year history. Members of the “SNL” cast have shown their support for the editors, with some wearing shirts that say “Contract Now” at the end of its Feb. 4 show.
Sources close to negotiations say that NBCUniversal plans to continue holding talks with the Editors Guild and looks to reach a deal by the end of March.