Hollywood labor cliffhanger kept dangling

Wed Jul 2, 2008 10:45pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood's latest labor cliffhanger will dangle unsettled for at least several more days.

The major film studios and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) met on Wednesday to discuss the "final" contract offer presented to the union earlier this week, just before their old labor pact expired, but the session ended inconclusively.

In brief, low-key statements, the two sides said their four-hour meeting amounted to a question-and-answer session about the 43-page proposal issued by the studios when long-stalled talks broke off on Monday.

"SAG asked for more time to study our final offer and indicated it will contact the producers on Monday," said the studios' bargaining agent, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

No further meetings were scheduled, it said.

SAG's statement gave no hint of its next move, except to say it would "further analyze" the studios' answers to its questions "over the next several days in order to prepare a response to management's proposal."

The studio offer contains essentially the same terms as a deal brokered by SAG's smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which SAG leaders have vehemently opposed as a weak compromise.

SAG has sought to persuade its 40,000 members who belong to both unions to reject AFTRA's tentative contract in a ratification vote that comes to a close next Tuesday.   Continued...

<p>President of the Screen Actors Guild Alan Rosenberg speaks at the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 27, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>