SAG threats to strike are losing bite

Screen Actors Guild members and supporters rally on contract negotiations

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Sean Penn may have won the oscar for best actor last night. But all is not happy in Tinsletown. Talks broke down over the weekend between the Screen Actors Guild and Hollywood producers on a new labor contract for televisions and movies. And if that weren't enough, SAG faces a new negotiating headache today. Here's Marketplace's Steve Henn.


Steve Henn: This morning, the Screen Actors Guild begins negotiations on a new contract for TV commercials. Selling cereal isn't sexy, but the union needs a win.

Jonathan Handel: The Screen Actors Guild has bumbled from one failed strategy to another over the last year and a half.

Jonathan Handel's an entertainment lawyer and SAG critic. He says the union is hobbled. SAG actors used to dominate the work on TV sitcoms and dramas. But in the upcoming season, most new shows will use actors represented by SAG's smaller rival, AFTRA.

Handle says SAGs drawn-out negotiations and strike threats have hurt it:

Handle: SAG has been rendered virtually toothless. It's clear that they don't have the where-with-all to strike.

And Handle says in this economy, union actors shouldn't expect a lot from any deal with advertisers.

I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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