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SAG-AFTRA, Production Companies Extend Contract Talks Again

SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood’s production companies have agreed for a second day to extend the current master contract and continue bargaining.

The extension, announced late Saturday night, holds off SAG-AFTRA from moving towards a strike authorization vote by union members.

Spokespeople for the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced that the three-year master contract has been extended on a day-to-day basis and that negotiations will continue to operate under a formal news blackout.

SAG-AFTRA said on June 25 that it would seek a strike authorization if it could not reach a deal by June 30. But it gave no timetable for doing so, and the back-to-back extensions indicate that negotiators have been moving closer to agreement.

The current scenario bears a close resemblance to that in 2014, when SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP agreed to three consecutive 24-hour extensions after the contract expired before announcing an agreement in the early hours of July 4.

Hollywood has been on high alert about a possible strike in the wake of the SAG-AFTRA national board voting unanimously on June 25 to seek a strike authorization from its membership unless a deal was reached by the expiration of the current contract. The leaders said at that point that the AMPTP had been pushing for “outrageous rollbacks” in the negotiations — but never disclosed what the specifics were.

The contract covers work by SAG-AFTRA members in primetime television and feature films and generates more than $1 billion in annual compensation. The union has about 160,000 members.

SAG-AFTRA began campaigning this week for support of the strike authorization and held a meeting on June 28 in Studio City that drew hundreds of members. It has set meetings for members to support the authorization in New York on July 6, the Washington, D.C. area on July 7, Atlanta on July 8, and Chicago on July 9.

SAG-AFTRA has already been on strike for eight months against 11 video game companies over work by voice actors. The union has held four rallies in the Los Angeles area since the video game strike began but the companies have not budged and no new talks have been scheduled.

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