Is an Actors Strike in the Cards

SAG, AMPTP Have Funny Way of Not Going Public

By Published on .

Hollywood might be headed for an actors strike after all.

Late on Thursday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers posted an oblique "Notice to Companies represented by the AMPTP in the 2008 SAG Negotiations" on it's website.

The AMPTP post states, "Since the SAG negotiations are due to wrap up on Friday, May 2nd, today is a good time to let you know where things stand. When we requested an extra week for the SAG negotiations, we told you that there were 'significant gaps' between the parties. Candidly, we must offer the same assessment of the negotiations today, with just over two days to go. Although both parties have spent considerable time in the negotiating room, we are not yet close to an agreement."

Of course, the notice wasn't "to companies"; it was likely meant for journalists who've seen both sides closely observe a media blackout since the talks began.

The major remaining sticking point, according to producers?

Despite "SAG's willingness to work with the existing new media framework (albeit with more than 70 changes) such willingness was conditioned on AMPTP addressing SAG's demands in traditional media areas. Unfortunately, these demands – including a doubling of the existing DVD formula and huge increases in compensation and benefits – would result in enormous cost increases that we are not willing to accept we cannot responsibly accept...As a result, we have made little progress in narrowing the significant differences with SAG on these critical traditional media issues."

SAG, for it's part, quickly posted a message on its own website, filled with olive branches.

"Screen Actors Guild remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with the AMPTP. To that end, we are prepared to bargain continuously, for as long as it takes. The AMPTP knows we did not state that they had to agree to all of our non-new media proposals. We expect the AMPTP to negotiate in good faith and we will do the same."

Of course, having communicated a willingness to dispense with its hard-line stance on DVDs in a statement that would be picked up by the press, the SAG statement quickly added, amusingly enough, "We will not negotiate this contract in the press."

While Hollywood's actors have been known to play determined cops with only 48 hours to solve a homicide, it remains to be seen if they'll be able to crack this case in the same time frame.

The AMPTP statement concluded, "We still have two days of negotiations remaining with SAG, and we are going to continue to work as hard as we can to find a mutually acceptable resolution. Failing that, we are prepared to begin negotiations with AFTRA on Monday, May 5th."
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