SAG Processes "Final" Offer From AMPTP

In contract talks for film and TV actors, the ball's in SAG's court right now. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, has presented what it calls a final contract offer to the Screen Actors Guild. SAG's negotiators are looking it over before the two sides meet Wednesday afternoon. KPCC's Brian Watt reports.

Brian Watt: Whether the producers' offer is "final" or "last, best, and final," the alliance served it up just hours before its contracts with the two actors unions were set to expire. Jesse Hiestand of the AMPTP told KPCC's AirTalk that the proposal would increase SAG actors' pay across the board by $250 million in the next three years. Hiestand added that the offer contains new terms for new media.

Jesse Hiestand: Downloads, Internet streaming, and programs made for the Internet. So we think it's a very solid package. It's consistent with the other deals. It's a good deal, both on the economic side and on the new media side.

Watt: The producers are quick to harp on the "other deals" they've cut with the Directors Guild, and the Writers Guild, after a hundred day strike... and the tentative agreement the alliance has reached with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. But those deals are no big deal to Anne Marie Johnson of SAG's negotiating committee.

Anne Marie Johnson: The Screen Actors Guild represents over 120,000 actors. We don't represent broadcasters, we don't represent writers or directors. So we cannot accept as a template what the DGA, the WGA, and AFTRA has tentatively agreed to.

Watt: Johnson hopes the AFTRA deal will remain tentative. SAG's Hollywood leaders are devoting time and money to convincing the 44,000 people who hold membership in both unions to vote it down. Jason George, who helped negotiate the AFTRA agreement, isn't buying it. He said all his colleagues at the table on AFTRA's behalf were also members of SAG.

Jason George: Hard working actors that work in every category of this business, at all varying levels, from background to Oscar nominees. We felt this is the best thing we could get out of those proposals. In fact, it's a better deal than I thought we were going to get going in.

Watt: AFTRA's members must turn in their votes on the deal by next Tuesday. Although both actors unions' contracts have expired, the studios are continuing to honor them. There's been no talk so far of a lockout or strike.

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