Gotham get-together set for strike foes

Ad reps, striking thesps agree to Sept. talk date

Striking union actors and advertisers have agreed to meet Sept. 13 in New York in an attempt to resolve their bitter dispute.

The meeting, sought by reps of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, will be the first since an unproductive two-day session in mid-July. The strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists enters its 109th day today and is already two weeks longer than any previous work stoppage.

John McGuinn, chief negotiator for the ad industry, said it was unclear whether the talks will lead to formal negotiations. But he declared he was hopeful that the session will lead to a settlement.

“I don’t know exactly what the mediators have in mind, but I am hopeful about the outcome because this has gone on for so long,” he said. “I would think it would be logical to conclude this because the situation is not going to get better.”

Union negotiators pointed out that they had sought an Aug. 30 meeting, but were unable to persuade ad reps to agree to that date. “We would have liked to have met earlier, just as we would have liked to continue negotiating in July,” spokesman Greg Krizman said.

The mediators have requested that members of various smaller negotiating committees attend the Sept. 13 session, with no other dates scheduled yet.

The key issues to be resolved are the advertisers’ demand for elimination of residuals for network ads and the unions’ demands for cable residuals, a monitoring systems and Internet jurisdiction.

“We’ve got tough issues to resolve,” admitted John McGuire, SAG’s chief negotiator. “We’re going to go back with an open mind, and I would expect the other side to do the same.”

Wednesday’s agreement to set up the meeting came as the joint negotiating committee for SAG and AFTRA met at SAG’s Los Angeles headquarters. It also came amid launches of ramped-up efforts against AT&T, Procter & Gamble and General Motors Corp. over shooting non-union ads during the strike.

On Wednesday, the unions picketed an AT&T switching station in Manhattan and leafleted at an AT&T-sponsored party at Spago’s in Beverly Hills. Pickets also hit a GM shoot in Waukeegan, Ill.

Additionally, the organizations were planning to picket at GM’s Renaissance Center corporate headquarters in Detroit beginning at 6 a.m. today.

Union leaders also reported a better-than-expected turnout Tuesday evening in Manhattan for a party organized by Paul Newman and Jason Robards to involve high-profile members in strike activities.

“They believe that corporate America is trying to eliminate residuals in order to bust SAG and AFTRA and they plan to announce specific plans in a week to 10 days,” strike captain Paul Christie said.

Also attending were Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Turner, F. Murray Abraham, Blythe Danner, Joanne Woodward, Sam Waterston, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Linda Fiorentino, Ashley and Naomi Judd, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei, Adrian Pasdar and Bebe Neuwirth.

“The heavy hitters are really stepping up to the plate,” strike captain Paul Reggio said.

In Los Angeles, members of the union’s Arts Cultural Task Force hosted a reception for Democratic delegates, including Reps. Howard Berman, John Conyers and Michael McNulty.

“I plan to start speaking out in support of the actors,” Conyers said. “In these disputes, reason sometimes goes out the window.”

High-profile members at the event included Diane Ladd, Valerie Harper, Tess Harper, Ed Asner, Lindsay Wagner, Nancy Sinatra, Mariette Hartley, Frances Fisher and Laura Dern.

The unions also disclosed that skateboard star Tony Hawk has shot an Activision video game ad under a union-approved interim agreement.

More Biz

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up CEO Resigned After Son Was Accused of Sexual Assault

    Time’s Up has announced in a statement posted to Instagram that its former president and CEO Lisa Borders, who resigned Feb. 18, did so after her son was accused of sexual assault in a “private forum.” “Within 24 hours, Lisa made the decision to resign as President and CEO of Time’s Up and we agreed [...]

  • Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender Passport

    UPDATED: A Chicago judge set a $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, as the “Empire” actor made his first court appearance. Smollett faces one felony count of filing a false police report. Police allege that Smollett staged a Jan. 29 attack, telling detectives that he was accosted by two men who used racial and [...]

  • Michael Jackson Estate Accuses HBO of

    Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO for Non-Disparagement Contract Breach

    The estate of Michael Jackson sued HBO on Thursday, accusing the cable channel of violating a non-disparagement clause by agreeing to run “Leaving Neverland,” a documentary accusing Jackson of sexual abuse. The suit seeks to compel HBO to litigate the matter in a public arbitration process, and claims that the estate could be awarded $100 [...]

  • Allison Kaye

    Scooter Braun Names Allison Kaye Partner at Ithaca Holdings (EXCLUSIVE)

    On the back of a history-making debut by Ariana Grande, who claims the top three songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week (tying the Beatles), Scooter Braun has appointed his longtime deputy Allison Kaye to partner at Ithaca Holdings LLC, which houses SB Projects. She was previously president of music at the 12-year-old [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content