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Producers Make Final Offer to SAG

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LOS ANGELES Hollywood studios and networks broke off talks with the Screen Actors Guild on Monday, issuing a "last, best and final offer."

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers' 42-page offer, coming just six hours before the guild's contract expired, puts the ball squarely in SAG's court. The studios said they are done bargaining and will accept no new proposals from SAG, but they will meet with guild reps on Wednesday to answer questions about the offer.

SAG said it would examine the AMPTP offer.

"Our industry is now in a de facto strike, with film production virtually shut down and television production now seriously threatened," the AMPTP said. "In an effort to put everyone back to work, the AMPTP today presented SAG our final offer -- a comprehensive proposal worth more than $250 million in additional compensation to SAG members, with significant economic gains and groundbreaking new-media rights for all performers."

The AMPTP also said that if SAG doesn't make a deal, SAG members will lose $2.5 million each day in wages while other guilds and unions will lose $13.5 million each day and the California economy will be harmed at the rate of $23 million a day.

The offer mirrors those accepted this year by the Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in its Network Code. The smaller actors union's membership is now voting to ratify its prime-time TV contract. The studios said the SAG offer goes beyond those pacts in that it is "tailored" to SAG's demands, with a new-media framework for feature films and "significant gains" for working actors.

In response, SAG's chief negotiator and national executive director Doug Allen said: "This offer does not appear to address some key issues important to actors. For example, the impact of forgoing residuals for all made-for-new-media productions is incalculable and would mean the beginning of the end of residuals."

SAG did not request a contract extension, and the pact's expiration limits the union's options. It can tentatively accept the studios' offer and send it to its membership for ratification, continue working under the current contract or go on strike. SAG leadership repeatedly has said that it has taken no steps toward a strike authorization vote. It would require a 75 percent approval and take at least two weeks to complete the process.

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