I haven’t posted an update on the whole SAG-not-having-a-contract thing in a while since SAG was mired in infighting and nothing was really happening.
Then the board removed the executive director and chief negotiator about a month ago and replaced them with people who were more willing to make a deal and avoid a strike. The parties agreed to go back to the table this past tuesday.
So what happend? The whole thing fell apart over the term of the deal. The studios want the contract to last three years from the date of ratification, expiring in March or so of 2012, whereas the actors want the contract to last until three years from the date the last contract expired – June 11, 2011.
Nine months. The studios have literally gotten SAG to agree to everything except the term they wanted. And these ass clowns want to put half the town out of work over NINE MONTHS.
The studios aren’t stupid. They see if they let SAG get what they want, the DGA, SAG, and WGA will all have deals expiring within 2-3 months of each other, and it’s possible that they’ll get hit with a mega-strike in 2011.
They’re also not stupid because they see that the continuing labor strife gives them all the excuses they need to keep cutting costs like crazy, which they all need/want to do to try to make their stocks attractive in this horiffying shitshow of an economy.
SAG, of course, doesn’t really have a plan on how to respond to this, and since this weekend is the Oscars and everyone’s distracted by that, they’re not going to come up with one for at least another couple of weeks.
So the ridiculousness continues, and all of us in IATSE, the below-the-line union that has about 80% of the workers and gets about 20% of the money, continue to get screwed as projects get held off or canceled because of all this nonsense.
The good news for me personally (since I’ve worked almost exclusively in television) is that most TV pilots have signed on with AFTRA, a rival union for television actors, so most pilots and most new shows for next year would not be affected by a SAG strike.
But still, the SAG stuff contributes to the general sense of economic panic in Hollywood, and anything that does that screws us all in the end.