Today, the Hollywood studios (AMPTP) and actor’s union (SAG-AFTRA) are in talks about ways to end the deadlock over the actor’s strike, which began back in July as an effort to sign a new contract to improve working conditions, protect against the threat of artificial intelligence and for better pay.
Earlier this week, the two sides came together for the first time since the studios walked on talks when the actor’s union put in a last-minute request for 2% of streaming services revenue. The studios felt this was too big an ask on top of all the other concessions they’ve given and felt adding a $1 a year levy to every subscriber was too much of a request.
Over the weekend, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger spoke with members of the actor’s guild, and talks commenced on Tuesday, with the studios offering a new deal with better bonus payments for streaming successes, similar to the deal the Writer’s Guild Of America recently accepted. Yesterday’s meeting between the two was cancelled when the actor’s union wanted to take some extra time to go over the counteroffer before today’s meeting, which many are taking as a good sign.
Today, The Wrap has reported that the studios have put an ultimatum that if a new deal isn’t in place by next week, then talks will be pushed back until after the holidays into next year. The reason for this is for studios, if a deal isn’t made very soon, then they will not be able to salvage the fall television season or get any new productions to start before Thanksgiving and the holiday season, therefore, removing any incentive to get a deal done before the end of the year.
During the recent writer’s strike, a deadline to complete the deal before the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, was put in place and the sides worked every day to try to get the deal in place before then.
And now it looks like the studios have made a similar target, adding more pressure for the deal to be made. This threat will also likely enrage many within the entertainment industry, who want the sides to make a deal so that work can resume as quickly as possible. Should the talks break down again, having another two months of production shut down will cost the industry, the union members and the studios greatly. However, a deadline, might also be the push both sides need to make a deal to end the dispute.
Recently, many of the big a-list Hollywood actors took part in a Zoom meeting to propose ways of ending the deadline, putting more pressure on the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee as tempers are beginning to fray as the industry becomes more frustrated with the deals in ending the deal. This tactic by the studios to set a deadline, will likely be looked upon by many as a form of bullying. However, with reports that some SAG-AFTRA members have threatened to keep the strike going if they don’t get what they wanted, tensions are high on all sides.
Either way, it sounds like the Hollywood studios mean business and want this situation resolved as soon as possible, or they’ll just hold out a couple more months till 2024.
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