Strike Ends as Screen Extras Guild, Producers Agree to Tentative Pact

Times Staff Writer

The week-old Screen Extras Guild strike against six major studios and one independent producer over wage cuts was tentatively settled Wednesday, but a spokesman said the guild now plans to go after non-union film makers "in an aggressive manner."

Neither the guild nor the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers would divulge terms of the tentative agreement. They simply issued a joint press release calling it a "win-win" situation.

"From the producer's standpoint," the joint statement said, "the settlement provides for reduced costs which will increase production within the SEG zones."

"At the same time," the release declared, "the settlement preserves the rate of the professional extra and will generate increased employment. . . ."

Neither side would say whether that meant that union members will again receive the $91 a day they were getting before Dec. 28, when contract negotiations bogged down and the producers unilaterally cut pay 25% to 40%.

Nor would they suggest what concessions guild negotiators might have made in health, welfare or other benefits to reduce costs.

Extras guild spokesman Paul Antico said the tentative settlement must be approved by the guild's board of directors, which will meet Friday afternoon, then be ratified by the full membership. If the board approves the terms, Antico said, referendum ballots will be mailed to guild members immediately.

Seven Producers

The Screen Extras Guild represents the actors in crowd scenes in movie and television productions.

The strike was called against Columbia, Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Aaron Spelling Productions. They are the only producers represented by the alliance that have been Screen Extras Guild contract signatories, said alliance spokeswoman Carol Akiyama.

She said the walkout caused nothing more than "some minor, temporary disruptions" on some film and television sets, but that producers "hired replacements quickly and the productions remained on schedule."

It was the first strike in the 41-year history of the guild, about 4,000 of whose 6,000 members are in Southern California. No one was willing to estimate how many of the extras who regularly work in movie and television productions here are non-union people.

Guild spokesman Antico said, however, that the guild was continuing to picket in front of the old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, where Phoenix Television Productions Inc. has been shooting "Roses Are for the Rich," a four-hour miniseries for CBS.

Phoenix, said Antico, "is non-union, so we're going after the non-union people in an aggressive manner. We will continue to picket all non-union shows. We recommend that they sign up before it's too late."

Jonathan Bernstein of Phoenix denied that the pickets shut down his production. "We're doing business as usual," he said Wednesday, adding that the pickets went home about 1:30 p.m.

"We have no quarrel with the SEG and no contractual relationship with them," he said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World