Even with the help of a mediator, negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the producers imploded early this morning. SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been haggling over a contract for months. The meeting with federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez was seen as a last ditch effort to avoid a strike by the union’s 120,000-plus members. SAG’s contract expired June 30, 2008.
Today, SAG sent out a statement to the rank and file saying it had “…made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach an agreement.” However, the entertainment industry’s largest actors’ union insists it will not let the big studios experiment with the careers of its members. SAG cited reports that the new media terms the Writers Guild agreed to with the AMPTP are not being honored.
So, SAG will “…now launch a full-scale education program in support of a strike authorization referendum.” On the other side, today the AMPTP posted a short message on its website which concluded with, “The Producers met for two days with SAG at the request of federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez. The parties were unable to reach an agreement and the mediator has adjourned the mediation process.”
This is the kind of “bah, humbug” news we had hoped not to hear this holiday season.