Same Industry, New Union Leaders for SAG Talks

Stalled talks between producers and the actors' union are set to resume Tuesday, for the first time since the members of the Screen Actors Guild elected a more moderate board and fired their chief negotiator.
SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers are scheduled to hold two days of negotiations at the alliance's Sherman Oaks office -- the first bargaining sessions since Nov. 22.

The agreement covering motion picture and television production expired June 30. Negotiations deadlocked when SAG demanded better terms than other entertainment industry unions received.

The main sticking points are the amount of pay for programming shown over the Internet and DVD sales. Production has continued under the terms of the previous agreement.

The resumption of talks was announced Wednesday, two days after the guild's National Board of Directors, now controlled by the more moderate Unite for Strength faction, fired executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen.

The board also disbanded the committee that had been negotiating a new contract and directed that it be replaced with a task force to complete the negotiations on behalf of the board.

The guild has been split over a proposed strike vote, which had been set to begin Jan. 2, but was postponed in December.
Supporters of authorizing a strike say it is crucial to gain leverage in negotiations.
Opponents have said it would be foolish to strike with the current economic environment and that it would be unlikely that the proposal to authorize a strike would receive the required 75 percent yes vote, thus weakening the guild's hand in bargaining.

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