Studios and networks will begin two weeks of negotiations next week with reps of 4,000 Teamster drivers in Hollywood and 1,000 members of four craft unions.
The current three-year contract expires July 31, and the negotiations could provide guidance as to how upcoming negotiations with SAG and AFTRA may proceed this fall.
Neither the Teamsters nor the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers had any comment about the talks, which are launching amid an improved outlook for the networks following the conclusion of a robust upfront season. However, employers are certain to note the depressed levels of advertising last year along with ongoing declines in the DVD market.
The 2007 negotiations went several hours past the expiration, nine days after the employees gave negotiators a unanimous strike authorization.
The AMPTP, which serves as the negotiating arm for the companies, is talking with reps of Teamsters Local 399 and the four other Basic Crafts unions — Local 40 of the Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Local 724 of the Studio Utility Employees; Local 755 of Plasterers and Cement Masons, and Local 78 of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry.
The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are set to begin seven weeks of negotiations on Oct. 1 for their primetime-feature master contract. The Directors Guild of America is to start its talks in mid-November. The SAG, AFTRA and DGA deals expire on June 30, 2011.
The Writers Guild of America hasn’t set its talks. Its deal, hammered out after a 100-day strike in 2007-08, expires May 1.