The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is now involved with the contract dispute between SAG-AFTRA and the Hollywood studios as they work to avoid a strike that could start at midnight Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers requested the agency’s help to resolve the heated labor dispute between Hollywood actors and the studios that employ them.
“FMCS has been monitoring the situation for some time and has been in contact with both the employer and the union,” a spokesperson for the agency told Spectrum News. “As with many national-impact collective bargaining conflicts, a highly qualified, senior mediator has been requested and dispatched to provide mediation services. The mediator will be present at today’s negotiations.”
Wednesday is the final day for AMPTP to reach a deal with SAG-AFTRA, whose members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike last month once the current contract expires if new terms have not been agreed upon.
SAG-AFTRA, which represents more than 160,000 actors and other entertainment professionals, is demanding higher residual payment from streaming companies such as Netflix that are based on a show’s success.
The sides have been negotiating since June 7. If a deal isn’t reached by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, the actors union says they will take to the picket line, joining members of the Writers Guild of America, whose 12,000 members went on strike May 2 to demand higher pay for streaming services as well as mandatory staffing and employment duration minimums.
The last time SAG-AFTRA members walked out on the job was 1980. A strike this week would effectively shut down all scripted series shoots, paralyzing the industry.
As the federal government’s public agency for dispute resolution and conflict management, FMCS “strongly believe(s) that parties in conflict can and should take advantage of all available resources to reach agreement,” the spokesperson said. “FMCS remains prepared and committed to helping both parties constructively resolve their dispute.”
Since its founding in 1947, the FMCS has helped to resolve several high-profile labor disputes, including the National Hockey League lockout in 2013 and West Coast Port contracts in 2003 and 2007.