Hollywood actors and studios extend labor talks again

Fri May 2, 2008 5:32pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Screen Actors Guild and major Hollywood studios said on Friday they have agreed to a another extension of their contract talks, this one on a day-by-day basis, in hopes of closing a deal by next Tuesday.

The announcement, coming as the parties neared a previous self-imposed deadline, heightened prospects that they could preserve labor peace in the entertainment industry following a 100-day strike by screenwriters that ended in February.

The current three-year SAG contract covering 120,000 film and television actors expires on June 30, but the two sides had planned to negotiate through Friday in hopes of clinching a settlement.

The actors union and the studios' bargaining agent, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, said in a joint statement that they would continue their negotiations "on a day-to-day basis" through next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. PDT (8:00 p.m. EDT/midnight GMT), except for a day off on Sunday.

There was no further comment from either party.

But a source familiar with the course of negotiations said SAG had scaled back a number of demands that were considered major points of contention.

In one such concession, the source said, the union was now seeking what would effectively be a 15 percent increase in residual payments actors earn from DVDs, rather than a doubling of the DVD residual rate.

Striking writers had been forced to give up demands for higher DVD residuals altogether in reaching their contract deal with studios more than two months ago.   Continued...

<p>Tourists pause on a walkway at a shopping mall which offers a view of the famed Hollywood sign at the hills in California March 14, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>