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SAG talks on slow track

Five-day recess announced; negotiations to resume Wednesday

Film-TV contract talks for Hollywood’s actors remained on the slow track with negotiators announcing Friday they have recessed negotiations for five days following their second day of contract talks.

Negotiators, who were returning from a two-day break, met for six hours at the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producer headquarters in Encino before breaking at about 4 p.m. PDT. Talks will resume Wednesday with the June 30 contract contract expiration less than six weeks away for the 135,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

Reps for both sides continued to observe the news blackout, saying only the second recess was due to negotiators needing more time to study the proposals and attend to other business. Talks started May 15 amid optimism that the Writers Guild’s tentative agreement, which provides $41 million in salary hikes, would make a strike by SAG and AFTRA unlikely.

Neither side has revealed any details about its proposals. The actors have stressed that their key goal is to improve wages for middle-class performers while studios have emphasized that their profit margins have been shrinking due to rising costs.

The actors unions will hold informational meetings for members on Saturday at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles and on June 3 in New York at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. SAG spokesman Greg Krizman has said that negotiators will adhere to the blackout and not disclose specific details of proposals at those events.

The decision to recess the talks again came amid speculation that the unions might be able to craft a tentative deal prior to mid-June. But SAG chief negotiator Brian Walton has predicted the talks to go up to June 30 and possibly beyond.

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