AMPTP gives SAG its 'final offer'

Talks break off; guild has 60 days to respond

SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers broke off negotiations around 8:30 p.m. Thursday on the heels of the AMPTP's delivery of a "last, best and final offer." The two parties had been meeting for the third day in a row to hammer out a resolution to a new TV-theatrical contract.
 
The new offer is valid for 60 days, at which point the AMPTP reserves the right "to modify or withdraw the terms of the offer." The two sides have no further scheduled negotiating sessions.
 
The AMPTP had proferred what it termed its "final offer" on June 30 but has made some changes to it that the SAG negotiating task force will now deliver to its national board Saturday for possible approval. That's hardly a sure thing at this point as partisans on both sides of the guild's internal divide may deem the "enhancements" too slight to merit sending it on to the membership for ratification.
 
Among the changes are a withdrawal of the AMPTP's proposal on French hours and a reinstated "revised clause" that addresses force majeure protections. Minimums and pension and health rate contributions also received small bumps. (The new contract offer is posted at www.amptp.org.)

A particular sticking point is likely to be the provision that deems the new three-year contract active from the moment of ratification and not from the retroactive date of the previous contract's expiration, June 30, 2008. If ratified, the new contract would not begin until March or April (as it takes the union at least a month to ratify), pushing back the expiration of the new contract to spring 2012.
 
Because the WGA and DGA agreements expire in spring 2011, the timing would not allow SAG to band together with its sister unions for a stronger bargaining position during the next contract go-round. The AMPTP included a clause that states that if SAG and AFTRA ratify a new contract by June 30, 2011, then the 2009 contract would end then and the new one would begin.
 
The AMPTP released a statement Thursday night that read, in part: "The AMPTP made these enhancements in an effort to conclude the AMPTP's sixth major labor agreement in the past year. The terms in the offer are the best we can or will offer in light of the five other major industry labor deals negotiated over the past year and the extraordinary economic crisis gripping the world economy."
 
SAG representatives have had no comment.
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