Your negotiators are working every day to successfully conclude negotiations for a successor agreement to our TV/Theatrical contract. We have not yet closed the gap with the employers’ negotiators, but National President Alan Rosenberg, the National Negotiating Committee co-chairs from the Regional Branch Division, New York and Hollywood and I remain focused on this effort.
Right now, that involves small group meetings and exchanges with the employers, their AMPTP representatives and a core group of leaders in both organizations. Substantive progress is more likely in a less formal atmosphere. Negotiators can talk more productively, exchange ideas and define a short path leading to a conclusion. Informal communication is routine in labor talks and, in fact, occurred in other Guilds’ negotiations this year.
The full committees and relevant staff of the AMPTP and SAG together number more than 100 people. This large group is extremely effective in framing the issues in negotiations, but unwieldy as we transition to focused, directed discussion. In fact, the full 100-member negotiating group probably will not need to meet across the table again until we shake hands over a deal.
You will no doubt read spin suggesting that there is dead silence between our sides. Progress doesn’t have to occur directly across a table. Discussions through alternative channels are ongoing as we work toward a fair deal for actors as soon as possible.
Your interest in and support of the key issues like jurisdiction and residuals for all new media have been invaluable to our negotiations, as was the 68-0 vote of our National Board in the resolution of July 26, 2008. This unanimous vote from the board members who represent you in the Regional Branch Division, New York Division and Hollywood Division was a meaningful reaffirmation of SAG’s unity. Solidarity by the SAG Board and SAG members sends an important, powerful signal to management that efforts to divide us aren’t working and that actors are united on the issues.
We also know that you remain concerned about other key bargaining priorities such as, for example, product integration, force majeure, stunt performers and background actors’ issues. Be assured that these and our other priorities continue to be in the forefront of our efforts on your behalf.
We will stay in touch with you to report on our efforts and hope that you will also stay in touch with us. Continue to email your questions and comments to Contract2008@sag.org (this is an email address not a web link).
Thank you for your continued support and solidarity.
National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator