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Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and studios are suspended

SAG-AFTRA members hold “Rock The City For A Fair Contract” rally in Times Square on July 25, 2023 in New York City.
Cindy Ord | Getty Images

Negotiations between the studios and the union representing thousands of actors on strike in Hollywood have been suspended, both parties announced.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement late Wednesday that the gap between it and the union known as SAG-AFTRA “is too great.”

“Conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the alliance, known as AMPTP, said. (The trade association represents NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

SAG-AFTRA, which stands for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has been on strike since July 14.

It said in a message to members early Thursday that “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 actors union went on strike weeks after writers did so, on May 2. The Writers Guild of America strike ended almost five months later, on Sept. 27. Members of that union ratified its agreement this week.

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The actors union and the AMPTP said in late September that they were resuming negotiations.

SAG-AFTRA said in its statement Thursday that “We have negotiated with them in good faith, despite the fact that last week they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began.”

The trade association for studios singled out a viewership bonus that it said was sought by SAG-AFTRA and which the studios say “would create an untenable economic burden.” It said the measure could cost $800 million a year.

SAG-AFTRA accused the studios of “bully tactics” including having “intentionally misrepresented to the press the cost of the above proposal — overstating it by 60%.”

SAG-AFTRA says it needs “a modern contract that addresses modern issues” and wants pay raises, protections surrounding use of artificial intelligence and greater participation in streaming revenue, which has eroded traditional residual payments.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

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