The on-and-off negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Association has been worthy of a daytime soap:
- A battle and a split from the other actors guild
- Infighting at SAG itself
- And threats of a strike
This all dragged out a contract negotiation for months - SAG's contract with the movie studios expired June 1.
On Monday the drama culminated with SAG's board ousting its executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen. And now SAG and the AMPTP have set up two days of meetings set to start on February 3rd. With the plan to have SAG's 120,000 members vote to authorize a strike cancelled, it seems the organization is sure to seek expedient resolution of their contract.
Even as we inch near resolution between the actors and the producers, the conflict within SAG continues.
SAG's national president Alan Rosenberg calls moderates "gutless, dishonest and immoral" -- saying "They've sabotaged Doug and wreaked havoc without taking responsibility... This is the darkest day within my memory. It kills democracy." Ouch.
Still, the meeting and the new leadership gives SAG moderates hope that the leadership will quickly strike a deal with the AMPTP. SAG has been pushing for more gains than the other guilds achieved in their negotiations; prompting the AMPTP to question why SAG deserves more than the AFTRA actors guild, the Writers Guild, or the Directors guild secured.
It seems the movie studios have the upper hand. It now appears that SAG won't ask its membership to vote authorize a strike, and even if it did ask, SAG membership, mired in the recession, is likely to vote "yes." The economic downturn means it's in everyone's best interest to get back to work. And SAG leadership looks bad that their membership has been working without a new contract—without all the gains their sister organizations—for seven months now.
We'll be watching negotiations on Tuesday. It's safe to say people on all sides of Hollywood are ready for the threat of another work stoppage to be lifted.
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