As usual, entertainment labor lawyer Jonathan Handel provides a very useful survey of the battle between SAG and the Producers as we wait for word from AFTRA. However, I disagree with Jonathan’s conclusion that a lock-out/work without a contract period will ensue at the end of June, if negotiations go nowhere.
I do think negotiations will go nowhere but that is because the SAG leadership has poorly prepared for these negotiations and yet they have a very highly motivated base in Membership First. The MF base is going to keep the leadership’s feet to the fire but the leadership is playing with a nothing hand. So the leadership will keep up its bluster and bluffing at the table.
Then at the very end the two Allens will do what they have done in the past – blink and turn on their MF supporters and cut a deal (similar to how they backed down in the face of the prospect of a losing membership vote on breaking away from AFTRA).
At that point the MF rank and file will be shocked and angry but with no alternative since they bought into the pseudo militancy of the two Allens without realizing that genuine and effective militancy requires an entirely different approach to negotiations – in short, not shooting yourself in the foot as the SAG leadership has done time and again but instead focus on how to impact a fluid industrial and financial environment.
Bottom line: a deal that looks very similar to that of AFTRA, the WGA and the DGA by late June.