UPDATED with SAG-AFTRA statement: Hollywood’s major studios made an offer to SAG-AFTRA on Friday that they hope will end the 113-day actors strike.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had previously warned the actors union that if a deal could not be reached by the end of this week, the networks would have to cancel certain TV shows and there would be further delays in 2024 summer theatrical releases. Late Friday, SAG-AFTRA released a short message to its members confirming that it will meet again with AMPTP representatives Saturday afternoon.
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The CEOs of four studios — Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal, Disney and Netflix — are expected to rejoin the talks, after more than weeklong absence from the bargaining table.
“The Negotiating Committee will be meeting Saturday morning to prepare for across the table talks with the AMPTP in the afternoon,” the union said in its message to members.
After a week of “cautious optimism,” the latest developments suggest that a deal could be close. The agreements with the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America were finalized on a Saturday in June and a Sunday in September, respectively.
In an Instagram message on Friday, union president Fran Drescher said she hoped the studios’ response would “seal the deal.”
“Let’s hope the amptp ceo’s resurface with a seal the deal counter!,” she wrote.
So far, the AMPTP has not communicated to the union that its counter will be a “last, best and final” offer. That is a term of art in labor negotiations, which is meant to indicate that the employer will make no further concessions of any significance. But given that SAG-AFTRA is already on strike, the union could simply refuse to accept it and remain on strike.
Though they have not invoked the phrase “last, best and final,” the studios have communicated that the offer presented on Friday is intended to bring the negotiations to a close. SAG-AFTRA is expected to review the proposal before giving its response.
SAG-AFTRA has said that it made a counteroffer last Saturday, and has been waiting since then for a response. The union also gave a three-hour presentation on Wednesday on its latest proposals on artificial intelligence.
The union has been holding out for certain items — including on AI — that it considers to be “existential” for actors. The studios have grumbled that the actors are conjuring up more and more AI scenarios, and are not progressing toward an agreement.
The negotiation has also featured more than a dozen other items, which are the subject of the Saturday counter from SAG-AFTRA.
This story has been updated with the outcome of the meeting.
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