Contract Extended As SAG Keeps TalkingBy Caillan
July 1, 2001 - 12:43 PM
Even though their contract expired at 12:01am this morning, talks will continue today between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in an attempt to reach a new agreement as soon as possible.
Three hours before the existing contract was due to expire, negotiators on both sides agreed to postpone the talks until this morning in order to ensure that the discussions will continue to be as productive as possible.
"There is definitely a sense of urgency on all sides," said AMPTP spokesman Barry Liden (via AP). "This is purely just an issue of scheduling. We all agreed it would be better to come back tomorrow morning."
Pamm Fair, representing the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), agreed. "It's not a signal of any kind of impasse or breakdown whatsoever," she said. "Basically, reasonable people are in the room and decided that going into the wee hours of the morning may not be as productive or desirable as coming back." Fair did say that it had been "a week of very intense talks."
Although though the threat of a strike still looms over the talk, the negotiators are taking each day as it comes. "We're here just to worry about tomorrow at this point," said SAG spokesman Greg Krizman. Krizman confirmed that in the event of a breakdown, a strike could not happen for another month because all members of the guild would have to participate in the vote to authorize the stop work order.
Both sides have maintained their silence on the details of the talks' progress. However, it is known that the Screen Actors Guild is pushing for better pay for its 75,000 "middle class" actors, who earn between $30,000 and $70,000 each year.
The talks began on May 15, but were criticised by the media for their slow pace. On June 21, the pace of the negotiations picked up in order to meet the deadline. Saturday's disussions, conducted at AMPTP headquarters, did not attract much media attention however, as many felt that after the successful completion of the Writers Guild negotiations, there would be little trouble in reaching an agreement.