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Screen Actors Guild Calls For Federal Mediator

Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild

It seems like the federal government is getting involved in all sorts of private business these days. This Sunday the Screen Actors Guild's board of directors agreed to ask a federal mediator help with negotiations with the film and TV studios, which could get the producers guild (the AMPTP) and SAG to sit down for their first formal talks since their contract expired on June 30.

Can a federal mediator really help? One was brought in just before the Writers Guild's contract expired last year, but being an outsider didn't help him forge any deals. The studios have reiterated that SAG has "no justification" to expect a better deal than what the other guilds negotiated, especially since the economy is now worse. But the studios haven't rejected the request for a mediator, so at least that's a positive.

And moving forward, SAG won't be acting alone-- as of Monday SAG approved an agreement outlining joint bargaining with AFTRA for a new commercials contract. After a five-month extension agreed to by SAG and AFTRA as well as the Joint Policy Committee they'll be negotiating with, the contract expires March 31, 2009. This summer AFTRA settled its own contract, refusing to wait around for SAG. But now SAG has some new leadership in place, leadership determined to collaborate with AFTRA to increase their negotiating power.

    • U.S. actors union requests federal mediation
    • SAG board votes to allow members to vote on strike

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.