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SAG/AFTRA contract talks to run past deadline

Negotiators plan to work through weekend, strike looms

Commercial contract negotiators representing actors and advertisers are planning to work past Friday’s expiration of the current three-year contract and into the weekend.

Though neither side has officially updated the status of the negotiations, an informed source said an announcement is expected soon that the contract will be extended past the expiration as talks continue. “At this point, they are planning to work all weekend,” the source said.

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Actors have granted strike authorization to negotiators in their talks, now in their fifth week and expected to continue today in New York.

The actors’ key demands include a 20% increase in base pay, a 30% hike in pay for Spanish-language ads, a revamped structure for cable ads and establishment of a producer-funded monitoring system.

Advertisers are repped at the bargaining table by the American Assn. of Advertising Agencies and the Assn. of National Advertisers.

A strike would probably not occur until mid-April, since talks would have to collapse and the national boards of SAG and AFTRA would have to approve such a move.

Matt Miller, president of the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers, said producers have begun making contingency plans to use non-union talent should a strike occur.

“We are certainly going to keep shooting if there’s a work stoppage,” he added.

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