SAG Considers Informal Talks for Contract

Screen Actors Guild leaders remain mum about when they plan on gathering at the negotiation table with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers to replace a contract that’s set to expire June 30. But spats with sister performers union American Federation of Television and Radio Artists make the prospect of informal talks with studio chiefs much more likely, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Informal meetings with studio fat cats led to resolutions for the WGA and DGA contract deals. "We’re always open to having discussions," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said yesterday.

He declined to elaborate.

News Corp. COO Peter Chernin and Disney chief Robert Iger were the most hands-on in hashing out deal terms with the writers and directors, and many believe those executives or other top media bosses also will engage with the actors unions before their formal negotiations. An affable and loquacious labor leader for all his reputed militancy, Rosenberg has held previous sit-downs with such executives as CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves and Warner Bros. chief Barry Meyer during his more than two years in office.

But until just last weekend, inter-guild squabbling threatened to complicate any dialogue between labor and management.

SAG and AFTRA seemed to be going down diverging paths as the calendar counts down toward a June 30 expiration of their current AMPTP agreements. Rosenberg and SAG national executive director Doug Allen were regularly chastising AFTRA for perceived incursions onto SAG turf, and the duo pushed the SAG board to order a membership referendum on breaking with a decades-long tradition of bargaining jointly with AFTRA.