Formal talks launched under a news blackout at the Sherman Oaks headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. High-profile SAG-AFTRA members have often appeared during previous negotiations.
.SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood producers are facing the June 30 expiration of the current three-year agreement. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris chairs the union’s negotiating committee and national executive director David White will serve as SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator. AMPTP’s lead negotiator is president Carol Lombardini.
The two sides began informal negotiations on May 17. Key issues for the union are likely to include employer contributions to shore up the separate SAG and AFTRA pension plans; dealing with options and exclusivity rules due to shortened seasons in TV, also known as the “span” issue; and changes in how performers are compensated for travel.
The AMPTP finished down-to-the-wire negotiations with the Writers Guild of America month ago. The writers reached a tentative deal with AMPTP an hour before the May 2 expiration of the contract and achieved significant changes in the compensation structure for short-order TV series, forcing the studios to recognize the financial strain for TV writers as the industry norm has shifted to shows with six-13 episodes per season, rather than the broadcast norm of 22-24.