SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios have finally set a date to return to the bargaining table.
On Oct. 21, the two parties announced that they would resume negotiations on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at SAG-AFTRA Plaza. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will be in attendance.
Labor and management last broke off discussions on Oct. 11, with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers saying that the gap between both sides was “too great” to continue discussions. The union and entertainment companies had clashed, especially, over a revenue-sharing proposal from SAG-AFTRA on streaming. Initially, the union had sought to funnel 2 percent of revenue generated by particular titles on streaming platforms to their casts, a proposal the AMPTP had outright rejected.
On Oct. 11, however, the union adjusted its ask: SAG-AFTRA wanted to charge a set fee per subscriber (“less than 57 cents,” per the union) on a streaming service, and divide those funds up between actors whose projects appear on these platforms. At a Bloomberg appearance the next day, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos called this proposal “a bridge too far” as he described why talks fell apart.
There were other areas where the two sides couldn’t reach a compromise, either: SAG-AFTRA wasn’t happy with the protections that the companies offered on AI, seeking more instances where companies would have to procure consent from actors to use digital doubles on franchise projects, for instance. The sides also remain far apart on minimum wage increases. SAG-AFTRA has continually sought an 11 percent bump in the first year of the contract, while the studios most recently offered the union the bumps accepted by the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America — 5 percent in the first year, and 4 and 3.5 percent in the second and third years, respectively.
These will all be issues at the front and center of the renewed negotiations on Tuesday. And with the actors strike hitting 100 days, the industry has been impatient to get back to business as usual, which will be possible sometime after the union and management reach a tentative deal.
At an Oct. 13 appearance at a Roybal School of Film and Television Production Magnet event, prominent SAG-AFTRA member George Clooney called for the studios to get back to the negotiating table with the performers’ union soon, saying the breakdown in talks was “worrisome.”
“At least get in the room,” he said. “Don’t take a vacation.”