A group of high-profile actors led by George Clooney presented a proposal to SAG-AFTRA leadership during a Zoom call Tuesday afternoon to find a way to resolve the three-month-old actors’ strike with studios. But the proposal is probably dead on arrival.
Sources with knowledge of the situation say the group of about 15 stars, which includes Tyler Perry and Scarlett Johansson, held a follow-up meeting with SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee last night. “It didn’t go well,” says one of the sources, adding that the committee “didn’t see the validity” of the group’s proposal.
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After Tuesday’s Zoom event, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland met with the union’s bargaining committee to discuss the Stars’ proposal, which called for lifting the contribution cap to give the union more than $50 million $150 million annually and $150 million over three years. They proposed a bottom-up residuals structure in which top earners would be the last to collect the residuals rather than the first.
But their pitch didn’t resonate, the sources say, leaving the A-list group feeling defeated. “They don’t understand why there isn’t just a mediation,” one of the sources said.
SAG-AFTRA is expected to issue a statement today regarding the standoff with the A-listers.
As diversity As previously reported, multiple sources say the group, which also includes Emma Stone and Ben Affleck, has been unhappy within the guild since talks with the studios failed. They are looking for a way to boost negotiations amid the economically devastating strike.
But members of the negotiating committee say the portion of the proposal that relates to membership fees is not directly relevant to the issues that have hampered negotiations with studios. “I will reach out to George to talk to him,” said David Jolliffe, a member of the negotiating committee. “We appreciate everyone’s help. Everyone has ideas. But we’ve been doing this for almost a year now.”
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief negotiator, stopped by the Disney picket lines Thursday morning to show his support for strike leaders. In an interview there, he said leadership was willing to listen to and consider members’ ideas.
“As far as I know, no one has suggested a lack of unity or support,” Crabtree-Ireland said. “And I don’t think any suggestion or idea is an indication of a lack of support… I think it’s unfortunate if people misinterpret that as some kind of interference or some kind of lack of trust in the negotiating committee, because that’s just not the case .” the case.”
Crabtree-Ireland also said the union regularly interacts with members and the only reason anyone would pay attention is because the union includes many of the world’s most famous people.
“If we were a union that didn’t have so much press attention, we would be having internal conversations like this all the time and no one would know about it,” he said.
He also acknowledged that there is frustration over the ongoing strike.
“I think everyone wants it to be over,” he said. “There is no one who wants this to continue. But I also think that everyone realizes that this is only possible with a fair deal.”
Jolliffe and a group of other bargaining committee members came to Amazon on Thursday to thank strike leaders for their work. Leaders also encourage SAG-AFTRA members to show their support for the strike by picketing.
Jodi Long, president of the Los Angeles local, notes that the studio’s security guards count how many people pickete each day.
“You also have to realize that our members have other jobs, especially now that it’s been so long,” she says.
Frances Fisher, another member of the negotiating committee, echoed that message.
“There are people who work two or three jobs,” Fisher says. “There is no shame in not being able to show up. But if anyone has a few hours, it would be great to show solidarity because these leaders we are honoring today were out here every day.”
Both Fisher and Long declined to comment on Clooney’s suggestion.
But others saw the fact that the A-listers’ failed attempt to help restart negotiations with studios highlighted a deeper problem with the vision of the guild’s negotiating committee.
“I think it’s pretty difficult [SAG-AFTRA] not recognizing that [the A-listers] I witnessed their thinking and their strategy and didn’t think, ‘Okay, they got this.'” “They have a plan,” says a source familiar with Wednesday’s call.
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