AFTRA, studios keeping quiet

Negotiation progress unknown due to press blackout

The first full day of talks between AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers wrapped up Thursday with no reports from either side due to a press blackout.

The performers' union and the producers kicked off three hours of formal talks on the primetime/TV contract at the AMPTP's headquarters in Sherman Oaks.

The negotiations began in the wake of a failed last-ditch effort by SAG, which asked AFTRA to postpone for a third time its scheduled talks with the AMPTP. AFTRA rejected SAG's Doug Allen's presentation, proposing that both sides join together in the bargaining process.

Tensions between the unions have been growing for more than year, culminating with what AFTRA claims was an attempted raid on "The Bold and the Beautiful" by SAG earlier this year. That event prompted the performers union to suspend its 27-year joint bargaining agreement with SAG on the primetime/TV contract and go it alone.

With 44,000 members carrying both SAG and AFTRA cards, AFTRA president Roberta Reardon sent a message to members, pushing for solidarity within the union as they start the talks.

"The stakes are high and passions can run even higher," Reardon wrote. "At such a time, AFTRA's historic ability to remain firm, clear-sighted and united is more important than ever."

Thursday's talks involved mostly introductions and opening remarks by both sides.

The union and producers will return to the bargaining table Friday morning, but is taking the Mother's Day weekend off and resuming negotiations on Monday.
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