Guild will return to negotiations May 28 or earlier

In a move that may slightly ease Hollywood’s strike fears, SAG’s decided it will be ready to resume bargaining with the majors in two weeks — or sooner, if possible.

The Screen Actors Guild has accepted the invitation of the congloms to head back to negotiations on May 28 or earlier.

Neither SAG nor the AMPTP had any comment Wednesday. The lack of resolution on the SAG feature-primetime deal, which expires June 30, has created a “de facto” strike in features in which major studios won’t greenlight any films until the guild makes a deal.

SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers last met May 6 with talks recessing amid SAG’s objections that a deal was within reach. The majors have asserted the two sides were still far apart at that point — after 18 days of talks — and that they were obligated to launch the twice-delayed negotiations with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists the next day.

AFTRA and the majors have remained on track to make a deal on the union’s primetime contract within the next few days. Negotiators are set to sit down for a seventh day of talks today at AMPTP headquarters in Encino with both sides continuing to observe a news blackout until bargaining is complete — possibly working into this weekend.

In its most recent message to members on May 6, SAG stressed the importance of the issue of actors being able to give their consent for film clips to be distributed online. And in a sign of the hostility between the unions — which are negotiating this pact separately for the first time in three decades — SAG noted that AFTRA agreed to a clip use formula that doesn’t include a consent provision in its network code deal, which covers non-primetime and was ratified by 93% of those voting.

Studios and nets are seeking to establish a market for use of clips online but want to dispense with performer consent, asserting that doing so would prevent such an enterprise from being feasible.

SAG has scheduled a town hall meeting on the negotiations for members Monday night at the WGA Theater with SAG president Alan Rosenberg and national exec director Doug Allen speaking.

AFTRA’s contract also expires June 30 and covers a handful of shows including “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Reaper,” “Cashmere Mafia” and “‘Til Death.”

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