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Variety, LAT Report of Motion on Picture Talks

Strikewatch_blog Dave McNary of Variety reports today that there has been movement between SAG and the AMPTP on getting a new deal. However, the story doesn't say much, except that members of the guild negotiating task force "have been summoned" for an update on the talks.

Richard Verrier of the Los Angels Times seems to have a story that's a bit more solid, reporting that the two sides are close to resolving a number of issues, including the most recent sticking point: the contract's expiration date.

If you'll recall, the two sides seemed close to a deal in mid-February, but the talks fell apart over the expiration date. SAG wants its deal to expire June 30, 2011, when AFTRA's contract terminates, to have more leverage for its next round of talks. The studios want a full three years from the ratification date.

It's doubtful a meeting of the task force would be called if there weren't a significant development, but there have been several potential breakthroughs that failed to materialize since talks collapsed last summer. Thus, we will temper our enthusiasm until the thing has been Stevie Wondered.

Meantime, Jonathan Handel blogs today that further delay would bring about more problems. If there is no deal by June 30, SAG would have to receive a 6.5 percent wage increase to bring their contract up to par with AFTRA's (3.5 percent increase last year, plus another 3.0 percent bump scheduled for the end of June).

And, even if a tentative agreement were announced by the end of the week, it would still have to be ratified by a simple majority of voting members. Membership First, the guild faction known for its assertive stands against management and AFTRA, likely will oppose the deal. Though it lost its majority on the national board in elections last September, it retains a clear majority on the Hollywood Board, the guild's largest division, and can still persuade members to attend weekly rallies.

--Andrew Salomon

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they "can still persuade members to attend weekly rallies"???

The same 75 non-working die hards show up every week. So what?

They're nobodies, has beens and professional malcontents. Nothing more.

And the last time they held an election in Hollywood, the Luddites lost.

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