SAG-AFTRA and Studios Still Differ on ‘Several Essential Items’

SAG-AFTRA delivered its response Monday morning to the studios’ “last, best and final” offer, as Hollywood waits for a resolution to the 116-day actors strike.

In a message to members Monday afternoon, the union said it was working to end the strike “responsibly,” but that the two sides still have differences.

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“There are several essential items on which we still do not have an agreement, including AI,” the union said. “We will keep you informed as events unfold.”

The union’s negotiating committee spent nearly 12 hours on Sunday crafting its response. Details were not yet forthcoming.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers indicated in a Zoom meeting on Saturday that its current offer is the best it can do, and that it will not negotiate further. The offer includes a success bonus for streaming shows, increases in minimum rates, and protections against artificial intelligence.

Several SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee members have signaled their discontent with the offer on Twitter. Four of them of retweeted a call for high-profile actors to put pressure on studio CEOs to come back with a more favorable deal.

The union can continue to push for additional terms, but by using the term “last, best and final,” the AMPTP is seeking to convey that it has heard out the union’s arguments and cannot make further concessions.

The studios sought to emphasize that point on Saturday by gathering a larger-than-usual group of CEOs on the Zoom call, including leaders from Paramount, Sony, Amazon and Apple.

The hope is that if SAG-AFTRA agrees to a deal, production can restart in January. But the CEOs have already warned that they may not be able to salvage 13-episode seasons of certain broadcast shows.

Much of the negotiating leading up to Saturday’s meeting focused on the AI issue. Among other things, the union is seeking a veto over AI uses to create “digital doubles.” The union also wants minimum pay rates for the use of AI to create digital likenesses, as well as ironclad consent requirements.

Meanwhile, the union continued to hit the picket lines on Monday in New York and Los Angeles. SAG-AFTRA has scheduled regular picketing through Thursday, with a planned day off on Friday for Veterans Day.

VIP+ Webinar Replay: Hollywood on Strike — What’s Next?

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