Updated with SAG-AFTRA statement: As the debate between SAG-AFTRA and the studios continued Monday, the end of the 116-day actors’ strike may not be imminent.
“There are several key elements on which we have not yet reached agreement, including artificial intelligence,” the union said in a letter to members last hour. “We will keep you updated as events develop.”
Here is the full message:
This morning our negotiators formally responded to AMPTP’s “last, best and final” offer.
Please know that every member of our TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee is determined to secure the right deal and thus end this strike responsibly.
There are many key items we have not yet agreed on, including artificial intelligence. We will keep you updated as events develop.
In solidarity and gratitude,
Television/Theatrical Negotiating Committee
The letter follows the guild filing its response to the studios’ “last, best and final” offer for a new TV and film contract earlier today. As Deadline reported, the parties are setting a date for new negotiations that could begin as soon as this evening.
Artificial intelligence has been one of the main sticking points between the two sides since the beginning of their initial talks in June. Since that time, technology has developed so rapidly that there are questions on both sides about how many protections could actually be built into a new three-year deal.
“It’s not bulletproof, everyone has to realize that,” one studio executive told Deadline today about any potential AI agreement. With next year’s IATSE and Teamsters negotiations looming, the executive indicated it will only be a few months before the studios return to deliberations with the likes of the DGA, WGA and SAG-AFTRA over the next three-year contract.
Previous exclusively, 2:38 p.m.: There may not be a deal on the table tonight, but SAG-AFTRA and the studios could be back in negotiations within hours.
The two sides hope to talk virtually later today and possibly into the night, we heard.
So far, no meetings have been officially scheduled, according to the union source, but they expect to set a date “very soon.”
It’s unclear at this time whether the CEOs of the group of four — NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Disney’s Bob Iger, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos — will participate in these new talks, which will reportedly include chief union negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. and AMPTP President Carole Lombardini.
This potential latest sit-in comes as the striking actors union sent out a response earlier Monday to AMPTP’s so-called “last, best and final” show on November 3.
It was a “measured” response, one union member close to the talks told us on the 116th day of the SAG-AFTRA strike. The guild spent much of the weekend “reviewing” hundreds of pages of the proposal submitted by the studios — a proposal that represents a response to the “blanket counter” SAG-AFTRA submitted in late October.
“Everyone knows where everyone stands,” a studio insider told Deadline this afternoon. “Now, it’s about getting him home, if we can,” he added with some optimism. Despite the ominous tone of the studios’ latest offer, the tactician never ruled out continuing talks between the two sides until this week.
With SAG-AFTRA having “a lot to digest” in the studio’s offer, according to one source, the details include the highest pay raises for actors in 40 years. Additionally, there was a 100% increase in performance compensation bonuses for high-budget streaming series and films in the AMPTP package, which a number of CEOs received in a short Zoom call on November 4 to brief union officers. Perhaps the crown jewel in the studios’ package are the so-called “full” AI protections. Combined, along with contributions from the health and pension fund and more, executives feel their offer went “a long way to achieving what SAG wanted,” an industry source said over the weekend.
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Or as Netflix co-CEO Sarandos told SAG-AFTRA leaders on Saturday: “We didn’t just come for you, we came all the way to you.” If executives thought that would get them to the limit by now, they were clearly disappointed. An insider at the studio, who was expecting a deal to be reached Sunday night, told us they had to halt scheduled production that ramped up today.
You’ll remember that it’s hard to shoot TV shows and feature shows, even though the writers’ strike is over. The SAG-AFTRA barricades went out in full force, bringing a B-roll shoot to a halt with extras from Nicole Kidman’s Netflix limited series the perfect couple In Nantucket on September 28th. It doesn’t matter where Hollywood is filmed; The union will keep them under surveillance. The problem with the perfect couple is that she was using non-union members as extras on camera, which was very taboo for local union representatives in Massachusetts.
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It is estimated that the combination of the now-dissolved WGA strike and the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike has cost California’s economy more than $6.5 billion to date. With union members united but feeling the financial pressure, the flip side of the fallout from the near-total shutdown of productions was the loss of 45,000 jobs in the entertainment industry.
If a new agreement is reached, the turnaround on how quickly actors can return to work and promote new TV series and films remains in question. Given SAG-AFTRA’s size of 160,000 members, it is expected that actors returning to work during the contract ratification period may not be as feasible as it was for the 12,000-member WGA, whose members returned before the final vote on their new contract. .
In that context, SAG-AFTRA members and their allies turned out in force outside studios and offices in Los Angeles and New York today, with pickets planned for almost a full week as of now. This week will also see two of Wall Street’s top executives facing scrutiny, as both Warner Bros Discovery and Disney release their latest quarterly earnings and project into the new year.
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