The Screen Actor's Guild is inching closer to a strike.
After two days worth of round-the-clock meetings - about 27 hours - federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez was unable to bring SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers together to hash out a new TV/theatrical contract.
Talks broke off shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
We are disappointed to report that the federal mediation efforts between SAG and AMPTP failed in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 22nd, when mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez ended the process.
The mediation failed for one fundamental reason: SAG continued unrealistically to insist on a substantially better deal than all of the other major Hollywood Guilds and Unions have negotiated so far in 2008. In the end, it was clear that SAG was not serious about using the mediation process to make a deal. Instead, SAG appears to have manipulated the mediation process in an attempt to achieve precisely the result it has wanted all along: A strike by SAG members.
SAG has not justified why it deserves to be treated differently than the industry's other Guilds and Unions - particularly at a time of extraordinary economic distress for both the country and the entertainment business. SAG refuses to deviate from its unrealistic position, even continuing to cling to its proposal to change the DVD residual formula.
Our leadership was optimistic that federal mediation would help to move our negotiations forward, but despite the Guild's extraordinary efforts to reach agreement, the mediation was adjourned shortly before 1:00 a.m. today.
Management continues to insist on terms we cannot responsibly accept on behalf of our members. As previously authorized by the National Board of Directors, we will now launch a full-scale education campaign in support of a strike authorization referendum. We will further inform our members about the core, critical issues unique to actors that remain in dispute.
We have already made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach agreement. Now it's time for SAG members to stand united and empower the national negotiating committee to bargain with the strength of a possible work stoppage behind them.
We remain committed to avoiding a strike but now more than ever we cannot allow our employers to experiment with our careers. The WGA has already learned that the new media terms they agreed to with the AMPTP are not being honored. We cannot allow our employers to undermine the futures of our members and their families.