Major entertainment studios and the union representing thousands of striking actors will return to the negotiating table on Tuesday, less than two weeks after talks were suspended because the sides remained far apart on key issues.
The resumption of negotiations was announced in a joint statement Saturday from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios, and the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA. Four top studio executives – Donna Langley, president and chief content officer of NBCUniversal’s studio group; Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos; Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Robert A. Iger; and Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive David Zaslav – will participate in the talks, as they did before the suspension.
The resumption of discussions is welcome news for the entertainment industry, which was at a standstill for months due to the dual strike by writers who walked out in May and actors who joined them in July. On October 9, the Writers Guild of America ratified its new contract and was expected to reach a new agreement with the actors.
The strikes have been economically devastating for many people inside and outside the industry. California’s economy suffered an estimated $5 billion loss. But an agreement with the actors would mean getting back to work without losing entire television schedules or disrupting next summer’s movie-going season.
Instead, talks between the alliance and the actors’ union failed on 11 October. The studios settled on a new proposal that would have included audience bonuses, which they said would cost about $800 million.
In an interview after the discussions ended, the union’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said: “Their position was the only way they would continue to talk is if we give them a new set of counters. They will not respond to what we gave them. They just want us to go back and start over and that’s not going to happen.”
In an earnings call last week, Mr. Sarandos said the proposal “really broke our momentum.”
Like their counterparts from the Screenwriters Guild, leaders of the Actors Guild have also called this moment “existential”. He says the streaming era has had a negative impact on his working life and his compensation. They are demanding wage increases as well as security for the use of artificial intelligence.
Last week, a group of A-list actors including George Clooney, Emma Stone and Tyler Perry made a proposal The union, which included, among other things, paying more in dues to the guild’s top earners in an effort to end the strike. The proposal was immediately rejected by the guild but its existence showed that its membership was becoming restless.
Social media posts criticizing the guild also began to surface, including a post from former union president Melissa Gilbert. He took the union to task for sending out Halloween guidelines telling members not to dress as characters from major studio productions or post photos of the costumes online because it could be interpreted as promoting the work of those studios. can be seen against whom they are striking.
“This is what you guys have come up with,” Ms Gilbert wrote On Instagram. “Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween. I mean, do you really think this kind of childish talk will end the strike? We look like a joke.