Hollywood strikes: Negotiations between the studios and SAG-AFTRA just hit a new snag

Actors on strike in SAG-AFTRA strike holding picket signs
National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and SAG-AFTRA President US actress Fran Drescher join members of the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild as they walk a picket line outside of Netflix in Los Angeles, California, on July 14, 2023VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images
  • Negotiations between Hollywood studios and SAG-AFTRA, the actors' union, have been suspended.

  • On Wednesday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said the gap between the two sides is "too great."

  • Over 160,000 union members of SAG-AFTRA started striking on July 14.

Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA, the striking actors' union, and Hollywood studios have been suspended, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, said Wednesday.

"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," the AMPTP said in a statement.

On Thursday, the AMPTP, which negotiates on behalf of the major Hollywood studios and streamers, released a statement outlining some proposals it says it extended to the actors' union's negotiators. Among them were "first-of-its-kind" residual compensation based on the success of "high-budget" streaming productions, hiked salary floors that would create more than $700 million in additional wages, and agreement on other matters like casting and virtual auditions.

Both sides have accused the other of misrepresenting claims about their proposals. SAG-AFTRA, in a statement posted to social media Thursday and shared with its membership, said the studios and streamers had been dishonest with the media about elements of the negotiations, adding that the AMPTP's negotiators had employed "bully tactics."

"It is with profound disappointment that we report the industry CEOs have walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter our latest offer," the union said, adding that it had made "big, meaningful counters" on issues that would ultimately translate to low-level costs for end subscribers.

"They have rejected our proposals and refused to counter," SAG-AFTRA said, adding that the companies were seeking to "fool our members into abandoning our solidarity and putting pressure on our negotiators." Spokespersons for SAG-AFTRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hollywood is eager to move on from its strike summer

The discord stands to dash hopes that a speedy resolution to the actors' strike may be in sight, particularly after the end of the writers' strike last month. Over 160,000 union members of SAG-AFTRA hit the picket lines on July 14, joining the Writers Guild of America's strike, which began on May 2.

The WGA came to a tentative agreement with Hollywood studios on September 24, and the union's membership voted to ratify that agreement on Monday. Some within the industry speculated that victories won by the WGA could serve as a partial template for SAG-AFTRA's negotiations.

The two unions have distinct considerations and demands, but there has been overlap between both writers and actors — especially in areas like the rise of streaming, including shorter TV seasons; the growing influence of artificial intelligence; and withering residual payments, as Insider previously reported.

Hollywood is eager to put the labor stoppages behind it. The strikes hit the industry hard with late-night television shows going dark and production halted for almost all films and TV series, including high-profile shows like the fifth and final season of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and Marvel's "Blade."

What's more, by early September, the dual strikes had dealt a $5 billion blow to the California economy, according to estimates from the Milken Institute. And they've also created pain for industry newcomers and job-seekers and dried up revenue for businesses like caterers, dry cleaners, truckers, and others that support the entertainment economy.

Thursday, October 12 10:27 a.m.: This story has been updated with further details of the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA's negotiations.

Read the original article on Business Insider