SAG-AFTRA negotiators are meeting again Friday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, as the industry waits in nervous anticipation of a potential “double strike.”
The contract expires at midnight, and the actors union could call a strike as soon as Saturday if no deal is reached. The actors would join the Writers Guild of America, which has been picketing outside the major studios since May 2.
The two sides have been exchanging proposals over the last week, and SAG-AFTRA leaders have said publicly that the talks have been productive. But it’s still not clear whether enough progress has been made to get to a deal.
Earlier this week, sources said the two sides had yet to reach agreement on major issues like streaming residuals, artificial intelligence, and pension and health contributions.
SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 performers, and a strike would essentially bring scripted TV and film production to a halt. However, members have thus far not been sent any strike rules or given instruction on what to do in the event of a stoppage.
Most TV production in the U.S. has already been shut down due to the writers strike. But film production and international TV production — to the extent U.S. actors are involved — would also have to stop if the actors strike.
SAG-AFTRA has had an unusually short window to negotiate and a long agenda, leading to some speculation that talks could be extended past the deadline. The guild extended its negotiations for an extra three days in both 2014 and 2017.
The union leadership is being encouraged to take a hard line, as pro-labor sentiments are running high amid the writers strike. Earlier this week, more than 2,000 performers — including stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep — signed on to a letter urging leadership not to settle for anything less than a “transformative” deal.
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, appeared on “Good Morning America” on Thursday to promote her new Lifetime limited series, “V.C. Andrews’ Dawn.” In the interview, she was asked if negotiators are making headway.
“In some areas we are, and in some areas we’re not,” she said. “So we’ll just have to see.”