SAG-AFTRA Agrees to Federal Mediation in Ongoing Contract Negotiations – The Hollywood Reporter

SAG-AFTRA agreed to involve a federal mediation agency in its ongoing negotiations with studios and broadcasters — but declined to extend those talks beyond July 12.

In a strongly worded statement on Tuesday evening, the federation said, “We will not be distracted from negotiating in good faith to secure a fair and just deal upon the expiry of our agreement.” She added, “We are committed to the negotiation process and will explore and exhaust every possible opportunity to strike a deal, but we are not confident that the employers have any intention of compromising in order to reach an agreement.”

The announcement comes just hours after news broke that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) had requested services from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the federal agency charged with helping to resolve labor disputes. The request came after several high-level executives, including Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery president David Zaslav, and Disney Entertainment co-presidents Dana Walden and Alan Bergman raised the idea of ​​federal intervention on calls Monday, Hollywood Reporter Certain. The decision appears to have been a last-minute attempt to salvage and/or extend the negotiations.

But in its statement Monday, Sage-Aphtra threw cold water on what it described as a purposeful leak to diverse Earlier in the day it was allegedly reported “by the CEOs and their ‘anonymous sources’ before our negotiators were even told to seek mediation.” The union added: “AMPTP has abused our trust and damaged the respect we have for them in the process. We will not be manipulated by this cynical ploy to engineer an extension when companies have more than enough time to make a fair deal.”

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With the clock ticking away from the current TV/theatrical contract expiration date on Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., the union has a strike vote in hand so it can call a strike early Thursday. The union resurfaced on that fact in its statement on Tuesday: “Time is running out,” SAG-AFTRA stated.

The parties have inked a new three-year contract covering around 160,000 union members since June 7, with both agreeing to one extension on June 30 in order to keep discussions going. Early in the talks, union chairman Fran Drescher and national executive and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland struck a cheery tone about the discussions, describing them as “very productive”, while the union’s June 30 play/TV negotiating committee described the extension schedule as agreed. upon him “in order to exhaust every opportunity of achieving the good contract which we all demand and deserve”.

Tuesday’s statement marks a clear shift in tone from the union about the state of the relationship with studios and broadcast screens. The announcement is also in line with the important preparations the federation has made in recent days towards a possible strike. On Monday, SAG-AFTRA’s top leaders met with major PR firms and hundreds of agents to discuss how to implement a potential strike, and what the rules might look like to members. “They weren’t speaking in conditional sentences,” said an agent who was in contact with the representatives Monday about the SAG-AFTRA leaders’ tone toward a potential strike.

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