Hollywood actors and studios mum after latest meeting

Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:25pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood studios and the Screen Actors Guild on Wednesday held their third meeting since the studios declared an end to contract negotiations, but the two sides parted company again without any public comment.

The uncertain outcome of the session came as the stalemate between SAG and the studios' bargaining agent, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, dragged into its third week with no final act in sight.

"A small group from AMPTP and SAG met today. Both parties agreed that the contents of the meeting should be kept private," the producers alliance said in a terse statement, adding that no further meetings were scheduled.

A corresponding message from SAG likewise said both sides agreed to keep their interaction confidential, adding only that the meeting lasted for two hours.

The contract at issue covers the work of 120,000 SAG members in prime-time TV and movies, an industry still reeling from a 14-week screenwriters strike that ended in February. A strike by the actors is widely seen as unlikely, for now.

The old SAG contract expired hours after the studios presented the union with their "final" offer as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition on June 30.

The parties met again on July 2 for what they described as a question-and-answer session about the studios' 43-page proposal, which management says is worth more than $250 million in additional compensation to actors over three years.

SAG then delivered a counteroffer during a four-hour meeting on July 10 that ended with the studios refusing to give any ground and insisting that SAG submit the industry's latest proposal to union members for a vote.   Continued...

<p>The Hollywood sign is seen on a hazy afternoon in Los Angeles, California in this November 4, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>