Negotiations over the next three-year contract for Hollywood’s largest union concluded after a weekend of talks on Sunday with a renewed sense of optimism — though no deal has yet been reached.
After a weekend of back and forth on SAG-AFTRA‘s next TV/theatrical agreement, the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers do not yet have a date to return to formal bargaining. Still, the talks were said to be productive: Several studio-side insiders described the weekend sessions as a positive step, even as the two sides have not yet buttoned up all deal points, including the union’s attempt to capture further compensation from streaming work and regulations on AI.
The turnabout comes after studios made it clear to union leadership last week that if there is no sign of a resolution by the first week of November, or even by as early as Nov. 1, their 2024 summer movie slates are almost certain to be blown up. If that happens, talks could break off until after the first of the year, a sobering prospect for all involved, according to studio insiders.
The union presented its latest responses to the studio on Saturday, while Sunday saw some discussion between representatives for the two parties without the direct participation of top studio executives that were involved in previous bargaining sessions the previous week.
Expectations are high industrywide that this recent series of bargaining dates could result in a tentative deal. The union and management returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and have exchanged proposals ever since on items including the union’s attempt to improve streaming compensation for their members and to significantly raise wage floors to account for recent inflation.
Going into the last weekend of negotiations, more than several thousand members of SAG-AFTRA signed a letter in support of of union leadership, urging the union side to soldier on and not compromise in the name of ending the strike: “As hard as this is, we would rather stay on strike than take a bad deal,” stated the letter, which was released on Thursday and signed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Cynthia Nixon, Leslie Odom Jr., Demi Moore, Jon Hamm and others.
The statement of support came after a separate group of actors, frustrated by the direction of the negotiations, tabled a draft of a different letter that was critical of SAG-AFTRA leadership. Ultimately, this group decided not to release their message once the union went back to the bargaining table with studios on Oct. 24.
Kim Masters contributed to this report.