Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why is no one talking about the SAG talks?

What's going on with the Screen Actors Guild negotiations? The official word is: there's no official word. The press blackout is ongoing ... which is mostly a good thing.

Hollywood union negotiations traditionally begin with a discussion of whether or not to have a press blackout. (We have always been sure to make an exception to allow us to keep our members informed during talks.) Management typically tries to insist that the blackout remain in effect until a deal is in place, but labor is (usually) smart enough to insist that the blackout is only in effect as long as talks are actually taking place.

Now, keeping silent can deny labor one of its best weapons, that of public opinion. On the other hand, it really doesn't do either side any good to negotiate in the trade papers. Misinformation can derail membership support faster than a score of negotiating mistakes.

And of course, refusing to talk on an official level doesn't mean that everyone is going to stop talking -- as Nikki Finke proves on an ongoing basis.

So, the fact that the blackout is still in effect means that the two sides are still talking. And that is, indeed, a good thing, however far apart they may or may not be at the moment.


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