A-List Talent and a Powerful Call Reopen Negotiations Between SAG-AFTRA and Studios
• A-list actors Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney united to urge a resolution between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios during their ongoing strike.
• Disney CEO Bob Iger and AMPTP president Carol Lombardini called on SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland to resume negotiations.
• The union adjourned its biennial national convention to focus on the talks, and the four key figures from Hollywood returned to continue talks at its headquarters.
• During Zoom meetings, Fran Drescher – the union’s president – asked to take a screenshot of this historic moment and discussed ideas such as removing the dues cap for high earners.
• These recent developments have renewed determination towards achieving a new three-year contract for performers’ unions.
After influential stars like Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney urged for a resolution, a conversation between Bob Iger and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland broke the deadlock. Fran Drescher emphasizes the importance of her style of leadership.
Disney CEO Bob Iger’s call to SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland on October 21st paved the way for negotiations to resume between the union and Hollywood studios.
Iger expressed the desire of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to return to the bargaining table and reach a new three-year contract amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. AMPTP president Carol Lombardini followed up with her call to Crabtree-Ireland.
With pressure from top-earning and lower-tier members, the performers union swiftly responded. They issued a joint press release with AMPTP on the same day, announcing the resumption of negotiations. The union adjourned its biennial national convention two days early to allow the staff and negotiating team to focus on the talks.
After abruptly leaving the negotiations earlier this month, AMPTP is expected to present a new set of proposals when meetings resume on Tuesday. The same four key figures from Hollywood, including Iger and others, will return to continue talks at the union’s national headquarters.
These recent developments were influenced by meetings between A-list actors, their union representatives, and the studios.
Notably, a group of influential members, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney, decided to unite in frustration and concern over the progress of negotiations.
They held Zoom meetings with SAG-AFTRA leaders Crabtree-Ireland and president Fran Drescher to discuss finding a resolution. Some had already spoken to union leaders individually but chose to collaborate further to break the ongoing deadlock.
Before the breakdown in talks, sources claim that the four CEOs attending SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations were taken aback by Drescher’s negotiation style, which included using a doll and Buddhist quotes. Drescher’s comment about being willing to take a year to achieve the union’s goals also raised concerns. However,
Drescher and Crabtree-Ireland emphasize the importance of balanced and inclusive leadership despite sexist tropes attempting to diminish women in Hollywood.
During the initial Zoom meeting, Drescher asked to take a screenshot to capture the historic moment. Some ideas were discussed, such as removing the dues cap for high-earning members and proposing a new streaming residuals model.
Affleck and Clooney suggested that eliminating the cap could benefit lower-paid actors. Drescher clarified that any contributions to the pension and health funds must come from employers, as mandated by federal regulations.
Overall, the negotiations resume with renewed determination and the involvement of influential A-list stars advocating for their union and fellow members.