Tentative Deal in Actors' Strike

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly six months into the longest talent strike in Hollywood history, negotiators for actors and the advertising industry have announced a tentative agreement on a new contract.

If a joint board of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists endorses the deal in plenary session in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, actors could be back at work as early as Oct. 30, SAG spokesman Greg Krizman said Sunday in Los Angeles.

Details of the agreement reached late Sunday were to be announced at a news conference Monday afternoon in New York, where the negotiations took place.

Union sources told the Los Angeles Times that the ad industry agreed to demands involving payment rates for advertising on cable television and jurisdiction over ads made exclusively for the Internet.

In exchange, SAG and AFTRA, which claim a combined membership of 135,000, agreed to a three-year contract.

The deal would end Hollywood's first major walkout in 12 years, and one of the most painful in industry history.

The strike, which began May 1, cost the Los Angeles-area economy an estimated $125 million in lost production, drove commercial work to Canada and Europe and illustrated the increasing strain of labor relations in the entertainment industry. Next year, actors and writers will negotiate separately with the major Hollywood studios, producers and TV networks.

Both sides in the advertising strike entered negotiations seeking wholesale changes in the way actors are paid for ads.

The industry, citing the fragmentation of network audiences, asked that actors give up receiving payments, or residuals, every time an ad runs on network TV and instead accept a flat fee, as they are paid now for cable ads.

Actors, citing the boom in cable TV, demanded that they receive residuals whenever ads ran on cable instead of their flat fee.

The biggest breakthrough came last month when both sides dropped those demands. And in the end the status quo remained, although with higher pay rates.

The new deal will pay actors a maximum flat fee of $2,460 in the third year of the contract for unlimited use of ads on cable TV, sources told the Times. That's the amount actors had asked for when negotiations broke down last month before resuming last week.

The industry also agreed that any ads made exclusively for the Internet would include union actors, although no pay rates were negotiated. Such an agreement is considered important because actors see the Internet as potentially where cable was 25 years ago — a fledgling but potentially lucrative advertising medium.

The industry, represented by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers, was hit by boycotts and high-profile protests that increasingly involved marquee celebrities, including Paul Newman, Rosie O'Donnell and Tom Hanks.

Union members, meantime, lost untold millions in commercial payments.


On the Net:

SAG: http://www.sag.org

AFTRA: http://www.aftra.org

ANA: http://www.ana.net

AAAA: http://www.aaaa.org