Jonathan Handel at Digital Media Law has an excellent summary of the WGA contract terms here. Critics and advocates of the deal will find much to digest. And certainly worth a careful read in anticipation of the start of negotiations by AFTRA and SAG.
The actors’ contract with the AMPTP does not expire until the end of June, but as reported here the actors are under pressure to start early negotiations to take advantage of the momentum created by the 3 month long strike by the WGA. AFTRA has already indicated its interest in taking advantage of early negotiations while the Los Angeles Times reports that SAG leaders Alan Rosenberg and Doug Allen seem willing to risk a serious breach in relationships with A-list stars like Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, and, strangely, with Sally (“Norma Rae”) Field, of all people.
Visitors to SAG offices on Wilshire Boulevard know that a wall sized image of Sally Field as Norma Rae holding up the famous “UNION” sign in a southern textile mill adorns the union’s wall. Is this the kind of member that SAG leaders want on a picket line, should it come to that, or agitating behind the scenes for a change in union leadership? It would appear that the current SAG leadership is willing to risk alienating such prominent members in favor of – well, wait, in favor of what? Presumably a superior strategy…a strategy that could have a reasonable chance of success on issues like DVD residuals and New Media jurisdiction – but, if they have such a strategy, where is it? If they have started to implement it (and one would think they should have started quite a long time ago to have a serious chance of success), the signs are pretty hard to detect. Presumably such a strategy consists of something more than just showing up for negotiations in June and sounding tough. Unfortunately, it seems that the AFL-CIO was not much help either since there has been no announcement of any resolution of the conflicts with AFTRA after the much ballyhooed sit down with John Sweeney. Well, we’ll see.