Studios Say Actors Guild Talks Suspended For Now
‘The gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great,’ say the studios
If you thought the actors strike would be resolved quickly after the conclusion of the writers strike, that’s not happening. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers just released a statement declaring that talks with SAG-AFTRA have been suspended. We’re on Day 90 of the actors strike, which began in mid-July.
“After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” said the bargaining entity representing the studios and streamers.
Both sides had met thrice last week and twice this week, with top studio executives such as Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Disney’s Bob Iger in the room. But a source familiar with the talks says that there hasn’t been much forward movement, particularly over the issues of AI and revenue sharing.
SAG-AFTRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here’s the AMPTP’s full statement, including its proposals to the actors guild:
LOS ANGELES, CA; October 11, 2023 – Negotiations between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA have been suspended after SAG-AFTRA presented its most recent proposal on October 11. After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.
SAG-AFTRA’s current offer included what it characterized as a viewership bonus that, by itself, would cost more than $800 million per year – which would create an untenable economic burden. SAG-AFTRA presented few, if any, moves on the numerous remaining open items.
Member company executives and AMPTP representatives met with SAG-AFTRA for five days over the past eight workdays. During that time period, AMPTP extended offers including:
A first-of-its-kind success-based residual for High-Budget SVOD productions.
The highest percentage increase in minimums in 35 years, which would generate an additional $717 million in wages and $177 million in contributions to the Pension and Health Plans during the contract term.
A 58% increase in salaries for major role (guest star) performers wages on High Budget SVOD Programs.
A 76% increase in High Budget SVOD foreign residuals for the four largest streaming services.
Substantial increases in pension and health contribution caps, ranging from 22-33%, which will make it easier for performers to qualify for additional periods of health coverage and earn years of service toward a pension.
Meeting nearly all of the Union’s demands on casting, including guardrails around self-tapes, options for virtual and in-person auditions, and accommodations to performers with disabilities.
Compensation adjustments of 25% for singers who dance and dancers who sing on camera in the same session, whether in rehearsal or photography, representing a 30% increase over current wages.
Wage increases for stunt coordinators of 10% in the first year and outsized increases in years two and three, and giving television stunt coordinators fixed residuals for the first time ever.
Substantial improvements in relocation allowance – a 200% increase if the performer is on an overnight location for 6 months. The relocation allowance would now be payable for every season in which the performer is on an overnight location (versus a current limit of two to four seasons).
Substantial increases in Schedule F money breaks of between 11% and 41%. The 41% increase applies to one-hour television programs, which covers the largest number of productions done under the Agreement.
A 25% increase in span money breaks.
Covering performance capture work under the Agreement, which the Union has sought for 20 years.
On AI protections:
Advance consent from the performer and background actor to create and use Digital Replicas;
No Digital Replica of the performer can be used without the performer's written consent and description of the intended use in the film;
Prohibition of later use of that Replica, unless performer specifically consents to that new use and is paid for it; and,
A “Digital Alteration” that would change the nature of an actor’s performance in a role is not permitted without informing the performer of the intended alteration and securing the performer’s consent.
On common issues, such as general wage increases, High-Budget SVOD residuals, and viewership bonuses, the AMPTP offered the same terms that were ratified by the DGA and WGA. Yet SAG-AFTRA rejected these.
We hope that SAG-AFTRA will reconsider and return to productive negotiations soon.