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SAG leaders reject latest offer from studios

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Less than 48 hours after AFTRA actors ratified their union’s new three-year primetime contract, the Screen Actors Guild yesterday rejected the latest offer from Hollywood conglomerates, which supposedly offered more than $250 million in additional compensation. Following the rejection, SAG released only a brief statement saying its negotiating committee would reconvene today – though chief negotiator Doug Allen added that “we did not reject the AMPTP’s offer, we made a comprehensive counter proposal that adopted some of their proposals and offered alternatives on others.” Still, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers responded by urging SAG leadership to take the offer to its 120,000-members for review.

“The refusal of SAG’s Hollywood leadership to accept this offer is the latest in a series of actions by SAG leaders that, in our opinion, puts labor peace at risk,” the AMPTP said in a statement. “SAG’s Hollywood leaders have already pursued a time-consuming, divisive, costly, and unsuccessful anti-AFTRA campaign. Any further delay in reaching a reasonable and comprehensive agreement does a disservice to the thousands of working people of our industry who are already being seriously harmed by the ever worsening de facto strike.”

It could be weeks — maybe months — before SAG hammers out a new

agreement with the studios, but an actor’s strike still appears

unlikely. A strike can’t happen without 75 percent of the SAG

membership authorizing a walkout, and it seems questionable whether

President Alan Rosenberg can get the votes now that AFTRA has ratified

its deal. But Rosenberg has made it clear that he doesn’t want to

accept a carbon copy of the deal accepted by the smaller,

70,000-plus-member AFTRA, which he described as the union for

“newspeople, sportcasters, and DJs.”

Though the SAG contract expired June 30, production continues on

several TV pilots and series planned for the 2008-09 season. Most film

production dried up in June because of the uncertainty surrounding the

SAG negotiations.

It could be weeks — maybe months — before SAG hammers out a newagreement with the studios, but an actor’s strike still appearsunlikely. A strike can’t happen without 75 percent of the SAGmembership authorizing a walkout, and it seems questionable whetherPresident Alan Rosenberg can get the votes now that AFTRA has ratifiedits deal. But Rosenberg has made it clear that he doesn’t want toaccept a carbon copy of the deal accepted by the smaller,70,000-plus-member AFTRA, which he described as the union for”newspeople, sportcasters, and DJs.”

Though the SAG contract expired June 30, production continues onseveral TV pilots and series planned for the 2008-09 season. Most filmproduction dried up in June because of the uncertainty surrounding theSAG negotiations.

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