SAG, AFTRA talks may last all week

Union actors resumed commercial contract negotiations Monday in New York amid indications talks are at least several days from reaching a conclusion and may last all of this week.

Reps for the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists held several hours of bargaining with advertisers Monday afternoon following a 10-day “cooling off” period and plan to return today. Both sides spent several hours in caucus meetings Monday morning prior to the re-start of talks.

“The negotiators are expecting they will meet through the entire week,” a SAG spokeswoman said. SAG president William Daniels, who is based in Los Angeles, joined the talks Monday and plans to remain in New York the entire week.

The advertisers, represented by the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies and the Assn. of National Advertisers, and the actors decided March 31 to recess talks four hours before the contract expired. Both sides also agreed at that point to an open-ended extension of the existing contract.

Members of SAG and AFTRA gave strike authorization last month to negotiators, but, if talks collapse, the unions would not go on strike until late next week at the earliest, since the national boards of the unions would have to approve a work stoppage, give members several days notice and warn non-union performers that they would jeopardize chances for future membership if they work during a strike.

The Eastern section of SAG’s national board will meet in New York on Sunday, and the Western section will convene two days later in Los Angeles.

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