Contract Extensions on Table

Feb 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Negotiators for the production community and actors guilds resumed discussions Feb. 13 on whether to extend their current contracts for an additional year.
While considering the proposal from the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, representatives of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists essentially have four options: accept the current proposal; make a counteroffer; reject the offer and begin negotiations for another three-year contract; or recess negotiations until after the Writers Guild of America contract negotiations.
Key issues reportedly aree boosting pay levels and health plan benefits. The current contract expires June 30.
Seth Oster, SAG’s deputy national executive director of communications, said the negotiation extension was itself a negotiation.
“We would not agree to any extension that did not address certain issues [key] to working actors and our membership in general,” he said. “If we can achieve movement in those areas, an extension could be reached.”
In what was considered an unexpected move, the parties announced last week they were considering extending their current labor agreement. Talks were derailed for a few days while chief negotiators for the actors guilds attended a health-fund meeting.
The WGA declined to comment on the negotiations. The guild presumably would see its bargaining position weaken without the threat of a SAG strike. The writers guild had hoped the actors guilds would lend their negotiating strength to its keystone issue: increasing talent residuals from DVD sales.