For the first time since SAG-AFTRA went on strike in July, the artists’ union and Hollywood studios and streamers set a date to return to the bargaining table.
“SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP will resume negotiations on a new TV/theatre contract on Monday, October 2. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will be present,” both parties said in a joint statement on Wednesday evening.
The news was announced Wednesday, the day the Writers Guild of America’s nearly 150-day strike ended.
SAG-AFTRA first called a strike in mid-July after management and workers failed to reach an agreement on a new three-year contract following rounds of negotiations. Annual pay increases, limits on generative artificial intelligence, and a union proposal to give casts a percentage of subscription revenue from streaming platforms were among the key issues dividing the union and the AMPTP. But even on smaller issues, the two sides appeared to be at odds: For example, they could not agree on increases in meal break fines and relocation allowances.
And in the first few weeks of the strike, rhetoric between the two sides heated up, with Disney CEO Bob Iger backing down when he said the writers and actors were “not realistic” in their demands, and SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher therefore wondered whether he was an “ignorant”.
The parties will have to resolve these differences when they return to the table, which could take some time. But Wednesday’s news appears to be a first step and marks an initial cooling of tensions between SAG-AFTRA and their employers. Now it is up to both sides’ respective negotiators, led by Carol Lombardini on the AMPTP side and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland for the union, to see the talks through to the finish line.
Sources on the studio side have said this THR that they hope the WGA’s recent deal can help provide a framework for issues like streaming transparency and profits that the DGA failed to get in their pact early this summer.