The joint strike action threatened by TV and film actors has been abandoned after union bosses fell out in their bid for improved Hollywood contracts.
The two unions – one representing TV actors, the other movie stars – were due to put negotiating plans into motion on Saturday (29Mar08).
However, just three months before contracts expire with the stars of primetime shows and film, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has voted to sever ties with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) amid claims of sabotage – meaning both groups will have to enter into talks individually.
Hollywood stars such as Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro have been campaigning for early negotiations, and it’s feared a delay could result in a strike similar to that carried out by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) last November (07), which crippled the industry.
Accusations of sabotage stem from a recent dispute over which union represented the stars of TV soap opera The Bold And The Beautiful.
AFTRA president Roberta Reardon writes, “For the past year SAG leadership in Hollywood has engaged in a relentless campaign of disinformation and disparagement.”
The SAG bosses have been quick to hit back, with president Alan Rosenberg writing that the television guild’s “refusal now to bargain together with us and their last-second abandonment of the joint process is calculated (and) cynical”.
He adds, “It may serve the interests of their institution, but not its members.”
The SAG has set a 30 June (08) deadline – the day their current contract expires – for negotiations to be resolved. If the strike goes ahead it could put hundreds of major film and TV projects under threat.