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SAG-AFTRA Announced Contract Negotiation Extension to the Displeasure of Union Members

The Union extends its negotiations after the authorization of a strike.

Graphic announcing extended negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP
The negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP extend past the June 30 contract deadline for another couple of weeks (Photo Courtesy: SAG-AFTRA on Instagram)

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, known as SAG-AFTRA, extended its contract to July 12 with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), in order to continue negotiations.

The current contract was set to expire by midnight PT on Friday, June 30, after which union members were set to go on strike. Union members voted in early June to authorize a strike if the two sides couldn’t come to terms. Nearly 98% of the 65,000 members voted for the potential strike.

SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP released a joint statement that announced 11:59 PM PT on July 12 as the new contract deadline. The joint statement partially read:

“The parties will continue to negotiate under a mutually agreed upon media blackout. Neither organization will comment to the media about the negotiations during the extensions.”

A SAG-AFTRA contract extension isn’t new as it happened in both 2014 and 2017. In July of both years, both sides were able to come to an agreement.

The extension comes upon a movement within the guild as members urge for the SAG-AFTRA to stay strong and join the Writers Guild of America in their strike. 1,700 members signed a letter saying that they would rather strike and join the WGA on the picket lines than compromise on key issues.

Many union members voiced their displeasure in the comment section of the Instagram post as well as the replies of the tweet.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who signed the letter, and national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland posted a video in which they said the negotiations were productive and they remained optimistic about a deal. On Thursday, Drescher told Good Morning America that negotiations were making headway.

The two guilds, along with the Director’s Guild of America, have shown solidarity for one another since WGA members started their strike in May. The solidarity didn’t last for too long as the DGA announced a historic tentative agreement with studios. This agreement will be presented to the DGA board on Tuesday for approval and then to the membership for ratification.

The WGA appeared to see this coming as its negotiations committee released a letter cautioning that studios would pursue a “divide and conquer” strategy in order to put the three unions against one another.

The actors’ guild hasn’t gone on strike since 1980, which lasted 95 days. The 1980 strike related to the terms for paid television and VHS tapes.


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