October 12, 2023 Negotiations between Hollywood studios and the actors’ union Sag-Aftra were suspended on Wednesday as the two sides clashed over streaming revenue, the use of artificial intelligence, and other issues. issue at the center of the dispute. three-month work stoppage.
The breakdown in talks has derailed attempts to end labor tensions that have paralyzed most film and television production in the United States, cost California’s economy billions, and left thousands of crew members homeless.
Sag-Aftra has been on strike since July. The union resumed negotiations with the studios last week after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) ended a work stoppage.
The WGA agreement raised hopes of a quick resolution among actors until the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said Wednesday that talks had stalled while it reviewed the latest proposal in the union.
“After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between AMPTP and Sag-Aftra is too wide, and the talks are not taking us in a productive direction,” said AMPTP, which represents Netflix, Walt Disney, and other streaming companies. media. .
Sag-Aftra, in a letter to its members published Thursday morning, said it negotiated “in good faith” with the studios “despite the fact that last week they submitted an offer that, surprisingly, was much less than they suggested. the strike began.” .
“It is with deep disappointment that we report that the CEOs of the industry have left the negotiating table after refusing to fight our latest offer,” union negotiators said.
One topic of controversy is Sag-Aftra’s demand for a share of streaming revenue given as bonuses to cast members. AMPTP says the proposal “would cost more than $800 million a year, creating an unsustainable economic burden.”
Sag-Aftra responded that AMPTP had overstated costs by 60% and accused the studios of “bullying tactics.”
The union also said the studios “refuse to protect actors from AI replacement,” while AMPTP said it promised to get consent from actors before using any digital copies of their images.
On issues like pay raises and residuals for big-budget streaming movies, AMPTP said it offered the same terms approved by the WGA and the Directors Guild of America but rejected them. in Sag-Aftra.
WGA members this week approved a new three-year contract with the major studios, five months after the union called a strike. The new contract provides for a salary increase, certain protections around the use of AI, and other benefits.