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Major Hollywood unions are calling on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to resume negotiations with SAG-AFTRA “immediately,” citing the suffering of industry professionals who are out of work.
“Each day a fair contract addressing actors’ unique priorities is delayed is another day working professionals across our industry suffer unnecessarily,” said the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, IATSE, Teamsters, Hollywood Basic Crafts and American Federation of Musicians in a statement Friday. “At this point, it should be clear to the studios and the AMPTP that more is needed than proposals which merely replicate the terms negotiated with other unions,” the unions added, arguing that the AMPTP is essentially attempting to force pattern bargaining, or implement deal points from other unions’ contracts, on SAG-AFTRA.
The unions continued, “We collectively demand the AMPTP resumes negotiations in good faith immediately, make meaningful moves at the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA to address performers’ specific needs, and make the fair deal they deserve.”
The statement comes not long after SAG-AFTRA alleged that the studios had made the decision to suspend ongoing negotiations over a new three-year contract, not the union, as its strike drags on. “I was certainly taken by surprise by their decision last night to call me and cancel our scheduled negotiation session for today and to tell me that they don’t plan to return to the table,” SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
The AMPTP, meanwhile, has stated that the talks needed to take a break because “after meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.”
Over the course of SAG-AFTRA’s 92-day strike, and the 148-day Writers Guild of America work stoppage before it, top Hollywood unions have presented something of a united front. Representatives from the DGA, IATSE, Hollywood Basic Crafts and AFM have attended solidarity rallies with the striking unions, while workers refusing to cross picket lines helped the WGA embark on a strategy to shut down ongoing productions early in its strike.
Still, the months of strikes — and shutdown in production affecting a broad swath of industry workers — have taken a massive toll. Hollywood charities like the Entertainment Community Fund and the Motion Picture & Television Fund have reported massive demand for financial assistance, while the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that the entertainment sector has shed 45,000 jobs since May, when the first strike began.
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