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Don't Count on SAG Deal in June

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LOS ANGELES Chances for an actors deal by a June 30 deadline grew considerably slimmer Thursday.

In a three-page update on film and TV contract talks with the Screen Actors Guild, the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers told 350 member companies that its negotiators are "frustrated and discouraged (that) SAG's Hollywood leadership is already saying that it's unlikely a deal will be made by June 30."

Separately, SAG national exec director Doug Allen e-mailed the Associated Press to say guild officials were hoping for an agreement soon but are prepared to keep negotiating into July. That seemed to signal a willingness to work under an extension of the current contract -- which expires at month's end -- and indeed SAG has yet to call for a strike-authorization vote.

A call for strike authorization would have to pass with a 75 percent majority and even then wouldn't necessarily trigger an immediate work stoppage.

For now, the AMPTP seemed to suggest that SAG negotiators are on the wrong track in the ongoing talks. It ticked off three chief gripes with the guild's approach to the contract talks:

-- Stating a willingness to work with a template for new-media compensation established during previous negotiations with the WGA and DGA but then proposing "many changes to the framework."

-- Demanding "increases in traditional media compensation that would result in enormous additional financial burdens."

-- SAG's staging "rallies, meetings and events ... often during hours that are usually reserved for negotiations."

In each case, AMPTP took care to attribute the troubling guild stances to "SAG's Hollywood leadership." This seemed a not-so-subtle way of noting that SAG's New York division and occasionally other branches have been at odds with Allen and SAG president Alan Rosenberg over the Hollywood-based leaders' perceived militant stance during the talks.

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