Hollywood’s major studios and creative unions have agreed to extend talks on post-pandemic return to work rules beyond the June 30 expiration of the existing agreement. Terms of the previous deal will remain in place while negotiations continue.
Both camps said they came to the decision to take the “necessary time” to hammer out the new deal. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is handling the talks for the major studio, network and streamers with the Directors Guild of America, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters and Basic Crafts. Talks are expected to resume July 6.
The unions and AMPTP last September reached a pact on strict safety protocols last September that allowed most mainstream TV and film production to resume in the U.S. amid tough lockdown conditions. That deal was set to sunset June 30. As that date approached, negotiations between the producers and unions have been on and off for several months as the industry prepared for the easing of pandemic-era restrictions on work.
One source close to the situation said a big complication has been that federal, state and local public health rules and guidelines have continued to shift as conditions change. Rising vaccination rates across the country have fueled hopes that the worst of COVID-19 is in the past. But the recent emergence of the highly contagious delta variant has prompted Los Angeles County this week to once again recommend mask-wearing in indoor settings, just two weeks after the Golden State declared itself to be “reopen” on June 15 as mask mandates and other restrictions were formally lifted.
The AMPTP and the five unions issued identical statements late Wednesday to confirm that negotiations would continue without interruption to work.