With less than a week to go before their contract expires, the leaders of SAG-AFTRA are striking an optimistic note about the progress of negotiations.
In a video sent to members on Saturday, union president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland say they hope to be able to achieve a deal with the studios.
If they do, that would avert a “double strike,” in which performers would join the Writers Guild of America on picket lines outside the major studios.
“I just want to assure you that we are having an extremely productive negotiations that are laser-focused on all of the crucial issues you told us are most important to you,” Drescher said. “We’re standing strong and we’re going to achieve a seminal deal.”
The video comes a day after members of the Directors Guild of America voted to ratify their contract, which provides increases in residuals and minimums as well as gains on working hours, family leave and creative rights.
The SAG-AFTRA contract is set to expire next Friday, and there has been some talk that the negotiations might be extended if the sides are unable to reach agreement on all points by then.
In the video, Crabtree-Ireland noted there is “a very narrow window of time remaining before our contract expires.”
SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 performers. The union is seeking robust protections around the use of artificial intelligence, as well as increases in residuals and regulations on self-taped auditions, among many other issues.
“We’ve all been working long and hard to move these talks forward, and we remain optimistic that we will be able to bring the studios, networks and streamers along to make a fair deal that respects your contribution to this industry,” Crabtree-Ireland said.
The leaders did not use the word “strike,” and made no mention of the strike authorization approved by 98% of the membership just before talks began on June 7.
At a similar point in the WGA negotiations, the guild was holding events to make picket signs and issuing a lengthy set of strike rules.
The SAG-AFTRA strike authorization gives the leadership the power to call a strike beginning on July 1 if no contract has been reached.