A year that began with the threat of crippling strikes cutting across the entertainment industry is looking more and more sanguine for all involved. A dreaded Writers Guild walk-out was settled in May, and now the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have released a joint announcement July 3 that they've reached a tentative, three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Subject to Board and member approval, the agreement is still under wraps but does contain wage increases, a "significant increase in basic cable residuals," more health insurance contributions, and "new provisions for the internet similar to the Writers Guild format.
William Daniels, president of SAG and star of the original 1776 and "St. Elsewhere," said in a statement, "I'm delighted that both sides have conducted these talks in the positive spirit of problem-solving and reaching an accord that's equitable for both sides."
AFTRA president Shelby Scott added that his union's main concern, improving wages and working conditions for its core of middle-income members, was effectively addressed.
For AMPTP's part, senior VP Carol Lombardini stated, "This agreement is focused upon the special needs of actors while addressing the economic realities of the industry today." The irony is that what's good for the actors and industry won't necessarily be good for theatre, since writer and actor strikes were seen as having the potential to drive famous stars and scribes to the stage for work.
— By David Lefkowitz