Thursday, May 08, 2008

Once More Around With SAG and the AMPTP

Tuesday night, before a TAG executive board meeting, I was on the phone with a reporter about the SAG and the AMPTP negotiations, then in progress.

"It doesn't look too good," he told me. "All my sources say the sides are still pretty far apart. SAG has backed off their original DVD proposal but it doesn't look like the deal's much closer.

"They'll probably break off negotiations tonight. AFTRA sits down for talks on Wednesday."

I observed that the AMPTP seemed to be using the same template they used with the WGA and the DGA: talk to one union, and when that doesn't go anywhere, talk to the second union that you get along with better, and try to reach a deal.

"If I were Nick Counter," I said, "that's what I'd do."

The problem I see for SAG is, they're going to get whipsawed by the done deals with all the other guilds, and they'll be under enormous pressure not to strike. (I know that the IA will be wildly unhappy if its members are thrown out of work again due to a second labor action. And the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan will once more take a hit.)

The reason I go on about this is a second strike, if it comes, will have a bigger impact on all animation artists, and so it's important to pay attention regarding what's going on. With that in mind, I found this Reuters interview with SAG topkick Alan Rosenberg worth reading:

Q: Does the break-off in negotiations make the potential for a strike a greater possibility than it was before?

A: "I really don't want to go there. I don't even want to entertain the thought of a strike at this moment. It's something I've always said was on the table. It's the one weapon a labor union has when they reach impasse. ... But I don't even want to think about, or talk about a strike until I'm convinced that we can't make progress in negotiations. I'm not at that point yet."

I'm not sure where the players are right now. A strike? No strike? With luck, the industry won't have to go through another job action.

With luck.


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