SAG offers its support if ACTRA strikes

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TORONTO -- Canada's actors union on Tuesday said the Screen Actors Guild will urge its membership to withhold their services from producers of film and TV shoots in Canada should a Canadian actors strike be called early in the new year.

"In the event that ACTRA is forced to call a strike, Screen Actors Guild will take all actions legally possible to support striking ACTRA members, including instructing our members to refuse to accept any engagements from struck employers, including any attempts by those employers to relocate those productions to the U.S. or other locations," the U.S. union said in a statement of solidarity with ACTRA.

The Canadian actors guild is currently at an impasse with North American producers while negotiating a new collective agreement.

"When negotiations get tough, it's heartening to have such strong support from our sister union in the states," ACTRA national executive director and chief negotiator Stephen Waddel said in a statement.

 ACTRA also expects a similar statement of solidarity from British Columbia actors aligned with the Union of British Columbia Performers, with a similar pledge not to accept work on ACTRA-struck film or TV shoots.

ACTRA, which represents 21,000 domestic performers here, is negotiating a new indie production agreement with American producers, English-language producers aligned with the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. and Quebec producers with the Association de producteurs de films et de television du Quebec (APFTQ).

The talks began Oct. 23, but collapsed when producers demanded actors take steep pay cuts of 10%-25% for minimum daily rates paid on film and TV productions shot here.

Mediators have been named in Ontario and Quebec to help bring both sides back to the bargaining table before the current Independent Production Agreement expires Dec. 31.

John Barrack, chief negotiator for the CFTPA, said little about SAG's statement of solidarity beyond that it had been expected.

Both the actors and producers have pledged to do all they can to work out a deal and to ensure the current impasse does not lead to a strike or lockout stage.

The next scheduled meeting between ACTRA and the North American producers is Nov. 14.

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