Conflict is over TV jurisdictional concerns

The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists is downplaying its dispute with SAG over jurisdictional concerns.

SAG leaders huddled last week with AFL-CIO prexy John Sweeney as part of the federation’s executive council meeting and expressed frustration over AFTRA’s aggressive strategy of signing TV shows shot on digital — an area of shared jurisdiction (Daily Variety, Aug. 14).

AFTRA spokesman John Hinrichs said Wednesday that the AFL-CIO’s given no indication that it will intervene in the dispute. He added that AFTRA prexy Roberta Reardon has invited Sweeney to help facilitate conversations between SAG and AFTRA.

Hinrichs also noted that SAG hasn’t responded yet to a letter by Reardon and AFTRA exec director Kim Roberts Hedgepeth over AFTRA’s concerns about SAG switching to a system of bloc voting among its reps on the joint negotiating committee for upcoming film-TV contract bargaining. The delay, he added, raises questions about the priorities of SAG leaders.

“While they’d travel 2,000 miles to speak with AFL-CIO officials about concerns with AFTRA, they still have not acknowledged our request from almost three weeks ago for a confirmation of the Phase One joint bargaining process and, throughout ongoing conversations, they have not articulated a coherent statement about their concerns over jurisdiction,” Hinrichs added.

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