WGA, IATSE Weigh in on SAG/AFTRA Deal

Writers and crew unions join DGA in congratulating the actors on their tentative agreement.

Hollywood’s a union town, but that doesn’t mean solidarity is the norm. Tensions between the various unions can be enormous.

Not on this particular day, however. Most of the large entertainment unions are congratulating SAG and AFTRA on reaching a tentative deal with the AMPTP.

As reported Sunday, the DGA was the first to weigh in: “The DGA heartily applauds the successful conclusion of the joint SAG & AFTRA negotiations with the AMPTP.  We congratulate the negotiations committees of our sister guilds, our colleagues (in the SAG and AFTRA leadership) and our sisters and brothers at SAG and AFTRA.”

The DGA added, “We will be studying the details of this tentative contract closely.”

IATSE later commented, with union president Matthew Loeb remarking in a statement, “We are encouraged by the success of the SAG-AFTRA negotiations. Congratulations on a successful conclusion.”

And Monday, the WGA West gave THR this statement from president John Wells: “Congratulations to SAG and AFTRA on their tentative deal with the AMPTP. We look forward to reviewing the specifics of the deal when they become available.”

Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of American East, also gave THR a statement: “We our pleased for our friends and colleagues at SAG and AFTRA that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. We will study the details as we move toward our negotiation and continue to consult with our members on issues and concerns unique to our membership.”

Meanwhile, although the actors’ deal is done, negotiators are still hard at work.

Talks started Monday between the studios and SAG, but without AFTRA, regarding basic cable. That subject is dealt with in a short agreement that keys off of the main TV/theatrical agreements. A likely issue is residuals, which are far lower in basic cable than in broadcast. The recent success of basic cable series such as Mad Men has left the guilds eager for an increase.

Those negotiations are scheduled to last a week. Next up: The DGA is scheduled to begin negotiations Nov. 15. Those talks are expected to be quick, as is generally the case with DGA negotiations, since the union tends to hash out details in informal sessions prior to the start of formal bargaining.

The SAG/AFTRA and DGA contracts expires June 30. The current WGA contract expires May 1, and no dates have been set for bargaining sessions. The holiday calendar means that WGA talks are not likely until February at the earliest, with mid-March more likely.