Informal SAG talks to stop

Guild may propose different new media plan

Peter Chernin and Robert Iger have wrapped their diplomatic mission with SAG.

Insiders say there are no plans for any more informal powwows between the studio toppers and SAG’s top brass prior to the start of formal bargaining between the studios and actors union on April 15 at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ Encino HQ.

As they did with the directors and writers, News Corp. prexy Chernin and Disney CEO Iger met with SAG toppers, including prexy Alan Rosenberg and national exec director Doug Allen, in an effort to come to an agreement on the agenda for the formal bargaining seshes.

Industry sources say a meeting held last week was cordial but not particularly substantive, with Chernin and Iger making it clear to guild leaders that the AMPTP has no plans to deviate significantly from the template established in the Directors Guild and Writers Guild contracts reached earlier this year. That message was reinforced Monday with an open letter to the industry about the SAG talks (Daily Variety, April 8).

Speculation in the biz is that despite the line in the sand drawn by the majors, SAG negotiators will come to the table with a proposal for a different compensation formula in the area of new media than those thrashed out in the DGA and WGA pacts.

Reps for Chernin, Iger and SAG declined comment. SAG’s negotiating committee was expected to hold some strategy sessions this week in advance of the guild’s national board meeting on Saturday and Sunday.

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