SAG simmers as Hollywood stews

Guild expected to keep stalling for better deal

When the AFTRA pact was approved July 8, many in Hollywood thought it meant a quick resolution for SAG talks. Now this seems unlikely.

That’s the thing about actors: Once they get in the spotlight, it’s hard for them to give it up.

At a July 10 meeting, SAG rejected the majors’ final offer and continued to insist it won’t accept the same deal agreed to by rival AFTRA as well as the DGA and WGA.

Many observers now expect SAG to keep stalling in hopes of pressuring the congloms into a better deal. It could be a long, hot summer of talks.

But the idea of a strike?

While that would be dramatic, the actors have to be looking at the numbers and assessing their prospects of success. If SAG asks for strike authorization, it needs 75% approval — and that’s iffy.

SAG waged a feverish campaign against the AFTRA pact — trying to sway its 44,000 members who are also in AFTRA (out of 70,000) to vote no. The AFTRA approval rate was 62%, certainly down from the usual 80%-90% OK given to most guild pacts.

Despite SAG’s contention that the AFTRA vote’s a sign that SAG members won’t approve the current deal, it’s also a sign that SAG’s unlikely to get the support it needs for a strike authorization.

SAG says it wants to keep talking. But it’s likely that production will slowly ramp up as producers gamble that SAG’s strike threat isn’t really much of a threat anymore.

To paraphrase Dirty Harry: Do you feel lucky, SAG? Well, do you?

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