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SAG contract expires; no plans for strike

July 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hollywood actors are on the set Tuesday, even though the contract between the Screen Actors Guild and major Hollywood studios expired at midnight.The union is now spending the day looking over the final offer presented by Hollywood studios late Monday night.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Subha Ravindhran's report from SAG headquarters.

At the Screen Actors Guild headquarters Tuesday members are busy contemplating their next step. Their contract with the Hollywood studios expired at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Even though their contract has expired, all actors have been told to go to work because there are no plans for a strike at this time.

"We're just encouraging our members to take a deep breath," said SAG member Anne-Marie Johnson. "The contract stays as is until otherwise notified. For every performer to show up for their jobs, to keep auditioning."

Late Monday the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers put a final offer on the table for SAG worth more than $250 million in additional compensation over three years. The offer is similar to one approved by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, but SAG leaders say it's not going to be enough.

"Well I know that things that are on the table now are not adequate for actors, it's just not. There are a lot of problems," said SAG President Alan Rosenberg.

The AMPTP says if SAG doesn't follow AFTRA's actions, the strike could cost California $23 million a day. They say SAG's tactics already have cost local businesses and issued a warning to exactly how much money could be lost if there is a strike.

SAG issued the following statement:

"Our industry is now in a de facto strike, with film production virtually shut down and television production now seriously threatened... If our industry shuts down because of the unwillingness of SAG's Hollywood leadership to make a deal, SAG members will lose $2.5 million each and every day in wages. The other guilds and unions would lose $13.5 million each day in wages, and the California economy will be harmed at the rate of $23 million each and every day."

SAG says the new offer doesn't address key issues like more money for new media and increases in DVD residuals. The union also wants an increase in pensions and health benefits.

Many celebrities, like Jack Nicholson and Martin Sheen, want to keep negotiating until they get what they want. Other actors, like Tom Hanks and Kevin Spacey, want to avoid a costly strike by approving AMPTP's offer. The move would also support fellow actor's union AFTRA.

Many actors hope there will not be a strike.

"This seems like a particularly bad time just, you know, with the trends in America, you know, just coming off the writers strike, which held a lot of things up." said actor Will Smith at the Hollywood premiere of the movie "Hancock." "There's a lot of jobs and a lot of families that are going to have a very, very difficult time with the subprimes. So there's a lot of things that make this awful timing for a strike."

SAG and studio heads are expected to meet Wednesday afternoon at SAG headquarters to further discuss the latest offer. The next big development probably will not happen until next week when AFTRA is expected to ratify its new contract.

 

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