Hollywood studios present actors"'final" offer

Tue Jul 1, 2008 1:13am EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hours before their contract with film and TV performers was due to expire, Hollywood studios on Monday capped weeks of stalemated labor talks by presenting the Screen Actors Guild a "final offer."

SAG, indicating it was caught off guard by the "last-minute" move, said in a brief statement it would study the industry's 43-page proposal and "prepare a response to management once that analysis is complete."

But little of substance is expected to occur before next week, when SAG leaders learn whether they have succeeded in a bid to scuttle a separate labor deal newly brokered by SAG's smaller sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

SAG said the latest studio proposal "appears to be generally consistent" with the AFTRA deal, which SAG leaders have scorned as a weak compromise undermining their own bargaining position.

"This offer does not appear to address some key issues important to actors," SAG executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen added in the statement.

The two sides agreed to meet again on Wednesday to discuss the industry's proposal.

The existing three-year contract covering movie and prime-time television work for 120,000 SAG members was due to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, and the parties have remained at odds for months over the terms of a new deal.

The labor talks, which began in mid-April, hit some of the same stumbling blocks that led Hollywood writers to walk off the job months ago, including clashes over how union talent should be paid for work created especially for the Internet.   Continued...

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