In a move that muddies the outlook for looming actor negotiations, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have offered AFTRA the opportunity to rejoin SAG at the bargaining table, Variety reports.
SAG's offer, made in a Sunday evening announcement, said AFTRA would have until Wednesday to respond. An AFTRA spokeswoman said the union would have no response until Monday at the earliest.
The move, which had not been expected, comes two weeks after AFTRA angrily split off from SAG over SAG's alleged attempt to "raid" the soap "The Bold and the Beautiful" -- an allegation SAG has denied, insisting its leaders had merely responded to a castmember's concerns about the AFTRA contract. The March 29 breakup of the 27-year joint bargaining relationship culminated years of hostility between the unions over jurisdictional issues.
SAG's brief announcement on Sunday said only that 81% of its national board had OK'd the offer, which was approved at the tail end of a daylong meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In recent months, the AFL-CIO has been attempting -- with little success so far -- to smooth out the extensive disputes between the thesp unions.
SAG's talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on a new feature-primetime deal are set to begin Tuesday, while AFTRA's talks on its primetime contract are set to start April 28. A spokesman for the AMPTP said the group would have no comment.
Should AFTRA spurn SAG's offer, the guild will be under pressure to reach an agreement with the AMPTP by April 28 or face the prospect of ongoing jurisdictional warfare with AFTRA. Should SAG fail to reach an agreement by then, AFTRA's expected to make a deal quickly -- since its leaders tend to be far more moderate than SAG's and its deal covers just three shows -- and then go after new shows in areas of shared jurisdiction.
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