The actors’ union top negotiator is reading the room and is presenting a scenario that is grim indeed for Hollywood.
The actors’ union SAG-AFTRA voted to withdraw their labour earlier this month, joining the striking writers and sparking the first dual strike in Hollywood since 1960. Whilst the writers have been on strike since early May, lots of us were hoping that SAG-AFTRA joining the strike would grind Hollywood to a halt and spark a quick and fruitful negotiation between the talent and the studios. With that resolved, everybody could get back to work, put food on the table without too much damage to the industry that means so much to so many people.
That doesn’t seem to be the case though. The alliance of studios (the AMPTP) seem to be digging in with the same steadfast determination as the striking actors and writers and it looks increasingly like things could go on for some time. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator for the actors union has offered his thoughts as somebody who was in the room with the AMPTP and his take makes for pretty bleak reading:
“I wouldn’t rule out January or February,” he says. “Everyone should be working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen, but the only way that doesn’t happen is by finding a path to a fair deal. And we’re not going to compromise on the core principles of fairness that our employees fight for.
I did send a letter to the AMPTP formally advising them of the strike but other than that, there has been no communication directly between us. Of course, there are always back channels, but that hasn’t worked so far.”
Crabtree-Ireland also adds that division within the studios’ alliance could be to blame too, with companies like Disney and Netflix possessing very different goals. He adds: “Our understanding of the AMPTP approach is that they require consent consensus to reach a decision; it can’t be a majority rule… I think that does sometimes slow them down.”
Nobody seems to be willing to back down here so we’ll see who breaks first. There are lots of points of contention that would need to be resolved but for the time being, we’d just like to hear that both sides are at least in contact. That would be a good start.
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