Actors, Producers Break Off Labor Talks

Two Sides Differ as to Why Talks Broke Down

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Labor talks between the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers hit a roadblock as the two sides broke away from the bargaining table. The two sides differed on the reason for the breakdown.
Alan Rosenberg, SAG national president, said in a statement, 'Our negotiating team is prepared to work around the clock for as long as it takes to get a fair deal.'
Alan Rosenberg, SAG national president, said in a statement, 'Our negotiating team is prepared to work around the clock for as long as it takes to get a fair deal.' Credit: AP

The AMPTP released a statement saying the negotiations were halted because of "SAG's persistent refusal to acknowledge that the three deals already struck with the writers, directors and AFTRA reflect the economic realities faced by everyone in our industry, including actors."

SAG said in a press release that the AMPTP shut down the negotiations because the group needs to focus on parallel talks with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, which also represents actors.

The producers said the main stumbling blocks revolve around DVD residuals, streaming shows on the Web, payment for content that is made for new media, and new-media use of clips and library material.

The Writers Guild of America struck for 100 days beginning in November, pushing for higher residuals on material used on the internet. The two sides settled in February, with writers winning some concessions on digital-revenue sharing and access to media companies' financial records.

The strike disrupted production of TV shows, led to a decline in prime-time ratings and cost billions in lost business. This latest breakdown in talks with the actors' guilds comes the week before the broadcast TV networks are set to present their fall schedules to advertisers. Those schedules are expected to have fewer new shows than in the past, given the disruption of the writers strike.

"In the end, this round of SAG negotiations ended without an agreement because SAG simply refused to recognize the fundamental business and labor principles that have already been accepted by directors, writers and producers," the AMPTP said in a statement on its Web site.

Both SAG and AFTRA are in the process of negotiating contracts for actors before they expire in June.

"Our negotiating team is prepared to work around the clock for as long as it takes to get a fair deal. We want to keep the town working," Alan Rosenberg, SAG national president, said in a statement.

AFTRA's negotiations with the AMPTP are set to begin Wednesday.

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Andrew Krukowski is editorial assistant for TV Week.
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