Actors and producers extend talks, delay possible strike action

The Hollywood sign
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The actors union has extended negotiations with the alliance of producers, averting a potential Hollywood shutdown for a few more days. 

The end of last week also marked the end of June: the deadline for the US union of actors, SAG-AFTRA to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Whilst the nature of the talks are largely kept behind closed doors, there was a growing feeling of unrest among major A-list actors that their guild was heading towards an agreement of terms that wouldn’t satisfy the list of their demands.

An open letter signed by such luminaries as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence had racked up some serious star power towards the end of last week, with over 1700 renowned actors adding their names to a public demand not to capitulate to the studios. This all came in the wake of the Directors Guild of America’s agreement with the AMPTP which was labelled by some filmmakers as a weak deal in some areas. Meanwhile of course, the WGA (Writers Guild of America) continue to strike and have been doing so now for a couple of months.

It was all heading towards a potential strike action that would cripple Hollywood, sending the industry into an immediate shutdown. However, as has sometimes been the case in the past, an agreement has been reached to extend the negotiating period to try and give both sides the time to come to terms. The new deadline is 12th July, giving the SAG-AFTRA negotiating team until the middle of next week to squeeze the best deal they can from the AMPTP.

Even though 1700 well-known actors can make quite the noise online, SAG-AFTRA contains 160,000 members, many of whom will find it economically challenging to join in a prolonged industrial action. Still, from the outside looking in, it appears like studio bosses will have some tough decisions to make this week about what will cost them more: a damaging shutdown or ceding more ground to SAG-AFTRA. We’ll bring you more on this one as it unfolds.


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