Yesterday, you may have read reports in the trades that SAG and AFTRA had prepared a strike authorization letter to send to their members and that talks were not going well. As reported by the unions, the release of the draft letter was unauthorized. In a joint statement from SAG and AFTRA, the unions stated, “We are making every effort to negotiate a fair contract and remain optimistic that we will bring these talks to a successful conclusion. Today, there was an unauthorized distribution of a draft strike authorization letter. This is one of many contingency documents that we prepare in the course of any negotiations, particularly as we approach the expiration of a contract. Our members understand that this is a normal part of the bargaining process. We will continue to bargain in good faith with the industry in an effort to get a deal.”

As I reported earlier, the rumors that things are “grim”, as one reporter opined, could not be further from the truth. Both sides continue to negotiate in good faith with every intention of avoiding labor disruption. While there are serious issues on the table, those who are bargaining for both the unions and the industry continue to build on the positive relationship the two sides have developed since first embarking on the joint study on performer compensation the two sides commissioned from Booz & Company in 2006.

Nor is the JPC concerned that the unions may be drafting potential notices to their members. Doing so, as the unions reported, is a normal part of the process and no different than the JPC’s preparation of draft notices to authorizers should developments require alternative planning.