Picketers gather outside Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles, California, USA, 03 October 2023. EFE/EPA/CAROLINE BREHMAN

Hollywood unions urge studios to return to negotiations with actors

Los Angeles (US), Oct 13 (EFE).- Hollywood unions issued a statement on Friday calling on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to return to the negotiating table with the US Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) after talks broke down on Wednesday.

“We collectively demand the AMPTP resumes negotiations in good faith immediately, make meaningful moves at the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA to address performers’ specific needs, and make the fair deal they deserve,” reads the joint text signed by the Writers Guild of America East and West, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the American Federation of Musicians, among others.

SAG-AFTRA, representing more than 100,000 actors, has been on strike since July 14 (in parallel with a strike by screenwriters that lasted until September 27).

They are demanding better working conditions, regulated use of artificial intelligence, and more significant compensation for residual rights.

In a show of solidarity, the various unions linked to the entertainment industry on Friday called on the AMPTP to address the “unique priorities of actors” because the rest of the industry is “suffering unnecessarily” from the consequences of this paralysis.

“More is needed than proposals which merely replicate the terms negotiated with other unions,” the statement continued, alluding to the agreement officially reached with screenwriters on Monday.

The concept of residual rights, the additional compensation professionals receive each time one of their creations is rebroadcast or released by a platform in another country, is one of the main stumbling blocks to overcome in the thorny negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP.

The Hollywood Actors Guild initially demanded 2% of the revenue received by the streaming services for each film or series in which they participate. Still, this proposal was rejected, as was the idea that each new platform subscriber should be paid 57 cents a year.

Ted Sarandos, co-founder of Netflix, called the proposal a “levy on subscribers” and said, “It just felt like a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiation.”

The actors answered by accusing the studios of “bully tactics.”

That position was echoed by SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who said in an interview with NBC on Friday, “It’s so wrong. And it’s so unfair. That they walked out of the meeting and so disrespectful.” EFE