Thursday, May 29, 2008

Of Agreements and Potential Strikes

Here's a non-surprise, as reported in today's papers:

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists early this morning reached a new contract with Hollywood studios, increasing pressure on the larger Screen Actors Guild to secure its own agreement as negotiations resume today.

The tentative accord, coming after nearly three weeks of negotiations, was modeled on a pact that ended the 100-day writers strike in February. If the contract is ratified, AFTRA would become the third Hollywood union to accept a deal based on the contract negotiated by directors last year, making it tougher for SAG to argue that its members deserve significantly better terms.

You think the pressure on SAG not to strike and deal along the same lines as every other union and guild just went up by several notches? (Don't everybody raise their hands at once ....)

As much as some of the SAG leadership probably wants members to hit the bricks, thanks to AFTRA (you know, that actors union with which its larger cousin didn't want to merge?) the Screen Actors Guild now has considerably less leverage to pull off a job action.

Nikki Finke thinks AFTRA caved in a major way:

Just look at what AFTRA failed to wrought re clips in New Media. First, all AFTRA members must now "bargain for consent for the right to use non-promotional excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media at the time of original employment" with the Hollywood studios and networks for programs produced made after July 1, 2008, which basically leaves AFTRA members powerless and unprotected.

Reading this, I take the language Nikki quotes to mean that actors hired onto a show will have to give their "consent" up front ... as a condition of employment. Bad news for any actors without the leverage of the select few (like, you know, stars the studios have to sign to the project.)

If SAG hates this outcome (and possibly the guild does), then it's a damn shame it didn't gather AFTRA under its protective wing when it had the chance (twice).

Folks who don't think strategically ... and long-term, sometimes suffer bad consequences.

On a related front, the artist staffers at Film Roman tell me that The Simpsons voice actors still have not reached a deal with Fox:

"Every week they tell us the agreement with the cast will be done this week or next. They've been saying this for a month ..."

Here's hoping (yet again) that the issues are resolved, the actors return to the recording studio, and the artist-hostages can return to work.


Anonymous said...

Any word on other shows that may be affected? Any other voice artists under SAG & not AFTRA? I know Wubbzy is still recording...

Steve Hulett said...

I think most (all?) shows will be impacted by a strike.

But understand that no job action can happen before July, so there's a month to hurry up and get to a recording stage.

Now that AFTRA has reached agreement, I think the odds are lower that SAG will go out. And SAG might not go on strike the first week of July. It might kee negotiating if it's close to a deal.

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