Actors’ Union Mulls’ Last, Best And Final Offer’ As Strike Enters 114th Day

The negotiating committee for the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is reportedly meeting today, for a conversation that could have far-reaching implications for the next year of entertainment. According to the actors’ union, which has been on strike since July 14, they’re considering a proposal from Hollywood’s major streamers and studios that the group says is its “last, best, and final offer.” If the actors accept it, the strike might end soon—and if they reject it, negotiations might end for the rest of the year.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) presented the deal to the actors on Saturday, in a negotiating session that was attended virtually by “the heads of the major studios,” CNN reports. Details of the offer have not been disclosed, but outlets like Deadline suggest that many of the sticking points remain around the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) especially when it comes to the likenesses and the replacement of human extras with digital ones.

The actors’ union is reviewing the studios’ offer and is “considering our response within the context of the critical issues addressed in our proposals,” they said in a message sent to members Saturday afternoon. The SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee is expected to meet today to discuss the terms, the Hollywood Reporter writes, with a decision to come after that.

The “last, best, and final” phrasing is a common one in negotiations, intended to express that the side that employs it will not offer any future concessions. But as of last week, thousands upon thousands of SAG-AFTRA members have signed an open letter saying “We would rather stay on strike than take a bad deal,” which suggests that the actors are unwilling to concede.

Unnamed “top executives” who spoke with THR say that negotiations would likely end “for the time being — or likely until the new year” if the actors turn down this offer. But if that happens, the studios stand to lose, too: plans for the 2024 TV and film schedule could combust.

But even if SAG-AFTRA leadership agrees to the deal, the strike won’t be over quite yet. First, its 160,000+ members must vote to ratify the new three-year contract. Given the tone of that open letter, it seems possible that many of the striking actors might balk if they don’t get what they seek.

“We have not gone without work, without pay, and walked picket lines for months just to give up on everything we’ve been fighting for,” the letter reads. “We cannot and will not accept a contract that fails to address the vital and existential problems that we all need fixed.”

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