The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is giving the Screen Actors Guild a two-week head start to negotiate its contract before the smaller performers’ union sits down to negotiate with producers.
AFTRA, which severed its joint bargaining ties on the prime-time contract with SAG over the weekend, has set an April 28 date to start formal talks with the studios’ bargaining agent, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
SAG announced late Tuesday that it would sit down with the AMPTP on April 15. Both unions will be using essentially the same proposal package, developed jointly by members of each union’s wages and working conditions committees last month.
“AFTRA has decided to let SAG go first because we feel it is in all of our interests for SAG to maintain its momentum and because we want to give the guild a reasonable opportunity to meet with the AMPTP,” said AFTRA president Roberta Reardon. “In our view, our proposed schedule should allow SAG sufficient time to work out a good deal with the studios.”
She added, “Our issues with the leadership of the Screen Actors Guild are a matter of record, as is our decision to negotiate a prime-time television agreement on our own this year. Nonetheless, we are also concerned about the well-being of SAG members -- some 44,000 of whom also belong to AFTRA.”
For 27 years, SAG and AFTRA have jointly bargained the prime-time TV contract. But last Saturday, at a meeting scheduled to approve the proposal package to take to the negotiating table, AFTRA instead suspended the agreement, voting to go it alone.
SAG’s contract also covers work for the major film studios.