SAG, AFTRA leaders meet in D.C.

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Members of SAG and AFTRA will resume meetings this week to work on bargaining proposals as the two actors unions gear up for negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

Meanwhile, leaders of the two unions met in Washington over the weekend with AFL-CIO president John Sweeney,

A SAG spokeswomandeclined comment on what transpired during the meetings, which included SAG president Alan Rosenberg and national executive director Doug Allen and AFTRA president Roberta Reardon and national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. Reps for AFTRA did not respond to e-mail requests for comment Monday.

The Washington meeting is another sign the two unions have mended a rift after the SAG board last summer voted to break the tradition of jointly bargaining with AFTRA. Additionally, AFTRA obtained its own charter with the AFL-CIO earlier this month.

A week ago, however, the SAG board reversed its decision, indicating an interest in jointly bargaining with AFTRA.

Already, members of both unions have conductedmeetings and caucuses in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York on the wages and working conditions process in preparation to bargain a contract for what is known as "Exhibit A," the union's term for dramas and situation comedies on primetime network TV and cable.

Although talks between SAG, AFTRA and the AMPTP have not been scheduled, they likely will begin sometime in March. Industry executives and media bosses, however, may take a page from the recent writers strike and engage in informal talks with the unions before beginning formal negotiations.
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