Following a riveting day of developments in the commercial contract negotiations in New York City, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and The Amercian Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have, in fact, walked away from the negotiating table as of approximately 6:30 PM EST.
The actors unions had started the day prepared to walk away from the talks, which had resumed under the auspices of federal mediators on Sept. 13. At midday, Sept. 27, a surprise show of support for the actors by national representatives of IATSE (camera operators, grips and stage hands) prompted an adjournment by the commercial producers.
Later in the afternoon, a celebrity press conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York City where several top actors spoke to the union cause.
By early evening, a SAG source told Playbill On-Line, the producers had returned with a proposal that was characterized by the source as "absolutely unacceptable, and they knew it."
Although actor Richard Dreyfuss had vowed at the Sept. 27 press conference that the union would not walk away first, the actors did just that but clearly placed responsibility for the break off on the producers, citing the unacceptable proposal as a de facto signal that they had intended to walk. SAG plans are unclear at this hour and the union was shutting down its New York strike office for the day as of 9 PM.
-- By Murdoch McBride