SAG-AFTRA tonight responded to criticism of its interim agreements, saying they are an “important part of our strategic approach to these negotiations and to the strike.” The tentative agreements allow truly independent projects to film during the strike, as long as they agree to be bound by the terms of the agreement the guild eventually reaches with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Critics include Sarah Silverman, who falsely called actors working on these projects “scums”, though she admitted on social media last week that “I know I just can’t understand something.”
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The guild’s negotiating committee tries to clear up these and other misunderstandings in a message to the members.
“Some have suggested that the interim agreement could extend the strike, but we disagree,” reads the announcement. “We believe that the leverage created by increasing competitive pressure on AMPTP and denying them what they want most will force them back to the table and help bring this strike to an end.
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“We understand the concern that our interim agreement may produce content that affected companies can distribute. We strongly believe that the terms of this agreement, particularly the streaming revenue share, will make distribution of these projects through AMPTP platforms impossible until a industry-wide agreement.”
The negotiating committee notes that prior to the start of negotiations, it “made the decision to allow producers who might otherwise fall within the scope of the strike order to apply for an interim agreement. Make no mistake, we are beating the AMPTP companies only, not independent productions that comply with the terms of our interim agreement. It is incumbent upon us to take this strategic step.
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“The interim agreement allows many of our journeymen and crews to pay their rent and feed their families. This approach maintains our strength, solidarity and leverage with AMPTP until they give in to the deal we deserve. The interim agreement is not a waiver. To be clear, it is a contract that includes all terms and conditions for producers who wish to employ our members on their specific independent productions.
“The union thoroughly reviews and approves each and every project seeking an interim agreement. Regardless of the size of the budget or the reputation of the cast, these projects have been confirmed to be separate from AMPTP and completely independent, except in exceptional circumstances dictated by legal considerations, such as .eg Tehran. It is important to note that the terms of the interim agreement have been designed by our bargaining committee and the contract department to reflect the terms we negotiate in the negotiations. The independent producers must accept all terms, without exception, including the very proposals that AMPTP rejected.
“This interim agreement was created for several reasons, all of which are intended to protect our members’ interests, help them navigate the strike, and demonstrate to the AMPTP that other manufacturers are eager to work with our members under these terms.
- The interim agreement ensures that our members are able to work for these non-affected companies.
- Working with these independent producers proves that the wage increases and other conditions that AMPTP has so far rejected are indeed fair and appropriate.
- If and when an interim agreement project is handed out during the strike, members will get the full benefit of the improved terms in our agreement.
- Pending a ratified agreement with AMPTP arising from our negotiations, the agreement will demonstrate that our proposed residual formulas, including streaming revenue sharing, are economically viable in our industry.
- Upon a ratified agreement with AMPTP, the interim agreement will be consistent with our final terms, terms that will fairly compensate and protect our members.
- The interim agreement calls for directing production budgets to union-funded projects that employ union members, rather than fueling a pipeline of non-union foreign productions.
The bargaining committee went on to say that “the interim agreement is a vital part of our strategic approach to these negotiations and to the strike. If AMPTP continues to refuse to negotiate, our strategy denies them the ability to freely make their own original productions, giving everyone non-AMPTP opportunity to produce content with our members We encourage independent producers to apply and encourage SAG-AFTRA members to work on the projects that achieve an interim agreement, along with all the other permitted work we support.
“We will continue to work hard to negotiate fair compensation and secure working conditions for our members, and we thank you for your continued support throughout the strike.”