SAG talks may resume next week

Mediator Gonzalez meets with AMPTP

The long-running stalemate between the Screen Actors Guild and the majors may be ending soon — possibly as early as next week.

Federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez continued his slow-paced shuttle diplomacy Thursday, meeting for the second time with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers about resuming talks with SAG. The guild, which requested mediation a month ago, has also met twice with Gonzalez.

No date’s been set yet for the resumption of SAG contract negotiations, which broke off July 16 after 42 sessions. Neither side had any comment Thursday.

If SAG and the AMPTP meet again, the earliest possible date would be next Thursday. The AMPTP restarted negotiations for three days this week with the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees about the West Coast contract covering 18 locals; those talks are scheduled to resume Monday through Wednesday.

It remains unclear if SAG and the AMPTP can reach a deal. SAG’s negotiators have contended they have to achieve sweeter terms than the other Hollywood guilds, while the congloms have insisted repeatedly that they won’t revise their final offer, especially amid a souring economy.

The congloms’ three-year offer, touted as containing $250 million in pay gains, was issued June 30 as the guild’s master contract expired. The AMPTP’s website calculated that SAG members would have received $31 million in additional compensation as of Thursday had the final offer been accepted.

For SAG to go on strike, its negotiating committee would have to receive 75% approval from members participating in a strike authorization vote. SAG’s national board, which saw control shift to a moderate faction in September, would have final say over calling a strike.

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