SAG-AFTRA Urges Studios To Return To Bargaining Table As WGA Prepares To Meet With AMPTP On Friday

In the wake of yesterday’s upbeat news that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the WGA are heading back for talks this Friday, SAG-AFTRA’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland says that as far as actors go, it’s still crickets from the producers.

“We have not heard from the AMPTP since July 12 when they told us they would not be willing to continue talks for quite some,” the union’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator tells Deadline this morning.

Meanwhile for the AMPTP and WGA, it’s the first time the two sides have met since a strike was called on May 2.

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“As we’ve stated publicly and privately every day since July 12, we are ready, willing and able to return to the table at any time,” added Crabtree-Ireland.

“The only way a strike comes to an end is through the parties talking and we urge them to return to the table so that we can get the industry back to work as soon as possible,” he continued.

Yesterday in a TODAY show interview, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said that the guild is in it for the long haul until they reach an agreement that’s good for all: “We have financially prepared ourselves for the next six months. And we’re really in it to win it.”

Last night, the WGA sent a note to members, that read “The AMPTP, through Carol Lombardini, reached out to the WGA today and requested a meeting this Friday to discuss negotiations.”

“We’ll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information. As we’ve said before, be wary of rumors. Whenever there is important news to share, you will hear it directly from us,” added the note, which came from the WGA’s negotiating committee.

Yesterday, Drescher also testified at a public committee hearing, telling New York City Council members that the streaming-era film and television industry still needs actors and writers and that SAG-AFTRA and WGA members deserve a share of the studios’ streaming subscription income. The committee on labor issues passed both resolutions unanimously, sending them on for consideration by the full City Council. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a similar resolution in June in support of the WGA. Both actions by LA and NYC are symbolic gestures of union solidarity.  

The New York resolutions, from council members Carmen De La Rosa and Amanda Farías, are non-binding and largely symbolic. But members of SAG-AFTRA and WGA East welcomed them Tuesday for sending a message of political solidarity with unionized labor. 

In regards to whether there’s a plan for SAG-AFTRA to form breakout committees with the AMPTP to discuss separate topics, i.e. AI and residuals, Crabtree-Ireland told Deadline yesterday, “Not in our negotiations (with the AMPTP). They do that in some of their bargaining, but that’s not a typical feature of our bargaining.”

The WGA Strike is in its 93rd day while SAG-AFTRA is counting day 20 at the pickets.

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