Less than 24 hours after the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced it would begin negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) on April 15, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) said it will enter talks of its own with the conglomerates on April 28. The decision to schedule separate talks comes after a particularly ugly weekend of finger-pointing between the two unions, which led to AFTRA’s decision to effectively divorce SAG.
“The SAG leadership has now reversed its previous approach of postponing contract talks until the last minute, and last night publicly announced that they intend to start talks with the AMPTP on April 15,” AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon said on Wednesday. “AFTRA has decided to let SAG go first because we feel it is in all of our interests for SAG to maintain its momentum and because we want to give the guild a reasonable opportunity to meet with the AMPTP. In our view, our proposed schedule should allow SAG sufficient time to work out a good deal with the studios. At the same time, we cannot abdicate our responsibility to our own members to engage with the employers in a strong, deliberate, and timely manner so we can negotiate the best possible agreement for primetime performers.”
SAG represents most actors; AFTRA reps daytime drama actors and a few primetime shows. Both unions had worked together for nearly three decades to carve out their TV and film contracts together. They will go at it separately now, raising concerns that a divided town of actors could make contract negotiations even sticker than a united one.