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Playing Nicely... For Now

Strikewatch_blog As my esteemed Left-Coast colleague Lauren Horwitch reported yesterday, SAG and AFTRA seem to be playing nicely after nearly severing relations earlier this year. But before everyone holds hands and cues up "Reunited", there is still a strong sense of wariness as the two sides finalize a list of demands for the studios and networks on a new TV/film contract. Two sources indicated to Strike Watch earlier in the week that no one is ready to commit to the idea that an amicable negotiation, at least on the union side of the table, means that long-standing issues between SAG and AFTRA will be resolved quickly.

"The balance of politics and issues for this coming weekend is razor [thin], to say the least," one wrote in an email this week.

That may have something to do with the members of the unions' joint negotiating committee. According to Daily Variety, representatives for SAG include George Coe and David Joliffe, partisans of Membership First, the Los Angeles-based faction that holds a vast majority of the seats in the Hollywood branch and has favored a hard-line stance against AFTRA. According to a Membership First source, Coe contemplated resigning his seat on the board after SAG withdrew in February a resolution that might have dissolved Phase One, the longtime joint-bargaining agreement the guild has with AFTRA. Then again, it may not have anything to do with that at all. No one is commenting much outside of news releases.

Still, it stands to reason the unions will do their best to find common ground in the run-up to talks with the networks and studios. What happens after that is anybody's guess.

--Andrew Salomon

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