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SAG-AFTRA to begin contract negotiations with studios Wednesday

Following successful negotiations with directors and writers, it is now the actors’ turn to sit down at the table with the major Hollywood studios and networks to work out a new contract.

SAG-AFTRA will begin negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Wednesday, the two organizations said in a joint announcement. The AMPTP represents studios, TV networks and independent producers in their negotiations with the Hollywood unions.

The talks will take place at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks. Gabrielle Carteris, who is SAG-AFTRA’s president, will chair the union’s negotiating committee while David White, the union’s national executive director, will serve as chief negotiator. The lead negotiator for the AMPTP will be its president, Carol Lombardini.

The two sides didn’t elaborate, except to say there will be a news blackout for the duration of the talks.

SAG-AFTRA ratified its last contract in 2014, when the late actor Ken Howard headed the union. The three-year deal included wage hikes as well as a small increase to the union’s health and pension plans.

The actors are expected to use recent gains made by the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America as leverage. The Writers Guild ratified its new contract last week, with agreements including bumps in minimum pay and residuals from streaming TV services such as Netflix and Amazon.

Writers also secured $65 million more in contributions for their employer-funded health plan.

The Directors Guild ratified its new three-year contract in January, having secured wage increases and boosts in streaming residuals.

SAG-AFTRA has about 160,000 members, including actors, announcers and broadcast journalists. The union is seven months into a strike against several prominent video game companies over issues including compensation and workplace safety for motion-capture and voice performers.

david.ng@latimes.com

@DavidNgLAT

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