Now that a tentative agreement has been reached to end the Writers Guild strike, of course it’s SAG-AFTRA’s turn, while IATSE is in the starting blocks.
When the Directors Guild reached its own agreement on June 3 on a new contract without a strike, the WGA, which had been on strike since May 2, insisted that they would not accept the industry’s long-standing practice of “model bargaining.” would. It is expected that the next union that comes to the bargaining table will follow suit and reach a similar agreement.
Since the WGA was able to achieve slightly – some would say significantly – better terms than the DGA after 146 days of picketing, SAG-AFTRA could see the WGA deal, if not as a “pattern” to follow, then at least as a template build on. This could apply to many, but certainly not all, of SAG-AFTRA’s demands for better wages, an entirely new method of calculating streaming residuals, and protections against potential abuses through the use of artificial intelligence.
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Next up is SAG-AFTRA
This could prove to be a new starting point once SAG-AFTRA negotiations resume. Its leaders have said since the actors’ strike began on July 14 that they were “ready, willing and able” to return to the negotiating table at any time, but just as the WGA had core issues that the DGA did not share, such as: Minimum staffing and length of employment in television writers’ rooms, SAG-AFTRA has artist-centered requirements that were not addressed in either the DGA or WGA contracts.
For example, self-taping auditions has become a major problem for actors since the practice became nearly universal during the Covid pandemic.
“Self-recorded auditions are unregulated and out of control,” SAG-AFTRA said back in June, before negotiations with the AMPTP began. “Too many pages, too little time, and unreasonable demands have made self-taping auditions a massive, daily, unconscionable burden on artists’ lives.”
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The guild says that “appropriate rules and restrictions, as well as access to other casting formats, are urgently needed to ensure fair access to work opportunities and protect artists from exploitation,” and that “many other important issues, including those that Specific to certain careers and categories will also be on the table.”
After SAG-AFTRA went on strike, the AMPTP claimed that it had already made a fair offer for self-taping auditions, saying that it would impose a “limit on self-taping requests, including page, time and technical Requirements” offered.
And in negotiations before the strike began, both sides had tentatively agreed on numerous new rules for self-recording, including restrictions on technical requirements such as recording quality, cameras, lighting, microphones, backgrounds, editing software and upload services. They had also tentatively agreed to restrictions on slate requirements, including allowing full-body portrait and portrait orientation shots.
They also tentatively agreed that performers will not be required to audition nude or perform a stunt at an audition, that all relevant safeguards for self-recorded auditions will also apply to virtual auditions, and that dancers may not be asked to choreograph or improvise during the audition and that it must be a solo dance. In addition, they tentatively agreed to secure storage of self-recorded auditions.
And while SAG-AFTRA still wants more self-policing measures, the deal points that the two sides have already tentatively agreed on could provide another starting point for an agreement unless the companies take a tough stance and insist that These tentative agreements would be evaporated as soon as the strike began – which would make it even more difficult to reach an overall agreement.
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The WGA’s agreement to curb possible abuses of artificial intelligence, meanwhile, may prove to be a template that SAG-AFTRA can adapt to address the specific threats it poses to artists. But SAG-AFTRA said before the strike that the AMPTP “failed to address many important concerns, leaving principal and background actors at risk of having much of their work replaced by digital replicas.”
Money — wages and residuals — could also prove difficult, with SAG-AFTRA still demanding an 11% raise in the first year of a new contract. But even if they make a deal, much of that increase has already been wiped out by months of no work.
IATSE deal until 2024
Once the actors’ strike ends – and it will end eventually – the AMPTP will have to deal with IATSE next year. IATSE members who have steadfastly stood by the striking actors and writers have suffered as much as the strikers and will no doubt seek gains to make up for lost wages and massive losses in employers’ pension and health insurance contributions during the strikes. And two years ago, the IATSE members rejected their last contract with just a few votes and launched the first industry-wide strike in the history of this union.
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It remains to be seen whether, after all the hardships they have endured during the pandemic and the strikes of actors and writers, they will be unwilling to strike or will be more militant and ready to strike than ever before.
Meanwhile, WGA members have yet to ratify their new deal. Following tonight’s news, the WGA Negotiations Committee, led by Ellen Stutzman, will next vote “on whether to recommend the agreement and forward it to the WGAW Board of Directors and the WGAE Council for approval.” Votes are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, the guild said in its notice to members announcing the agreement.
During the WGA’s last strike in 2007–08, a tentative agreement was reached on the 96th day, but it was not completed until the 100th.
The first shows dropped at the start of the WGA strike – late-night comedy shows and daytime talk shows – will be the first to return to air because they are not included in the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. But films and TV shows that haven’t signed tentative agreements with SAG-AFTRA will remain in the dark until the strike is resolved.
Source : deadline.com