Lead negotiator and spokesperson of the advertising industry's Joint Policy Committee (JPC), Ira Shepard, has made his first comments to Playbill On- Line concerning his group's pending commercial contract deal with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
Speaking by phone from his Washington, D.C. office on Oct. 23, Shepard told Playbill On-Line, "I think it's a good and fair settlement."
In all, there were four separate rounds of talks, with federal mediators present for much of the negotiating over the new contract. The comprehensive negotiations covered royalty and jurisdiction issues for commercials on traditional broadcast, cable and Internet media. Many considered the union's stand on Internet jurisdiction an important, if not historic toehold for both labor and creative interests in the entertainment industry.
In the past, JPC's Shepard has described the commercial contract negotiations as a watershed. "I think it was a good compromise for both sides," Shepard said after the deal was announced. "We got done what we needed to get done."
The agreement is expected to bring an end to the six-month commercial strike by actors against advertising interests. The strike was a contentious and high profile labor dispute. Both talent unions campaigned vigorously with picket lines, non-union shoot busts and several celebrity events aimed at bringing media attention to the issues. While there was scant media coverage of the strike outside the entertainment trades, the challenging nature of the prolonged conflict made it difficult to endure for both sides.
Asked what the most challenging aspect of the contract negotiation was, Shepard laughed and said, "I'm going need a day or two to think about that but, in the end, both parties worked hard together to bat out a compromise."
-- By Murdoch McBride