In the last seven months, the Screen Actors Guild has rejected a contract offer from studios, talked about a strike, prepared to ask the rank and file for permission to call one, delayed that plan, replaced its lead negotiators and returned to the bargaining table.
All, it seems, to get almost the same contract offer studios made on June 30.
Negotiations between the union and Hollywood studios broke down Thursday night, after just three days of renewed negotiations, with studios again offering what they described as their final offer. It contained only minor changes to the one they put forth in June.
The studio's hard-line stance was a serious blow to the hopes of the union's 120,000 working members, who have endured months of infighting, including the removal of executive director Doug Allen by a moderate, anti-strike faction that saw him as an impediment to successful negotiations.
No further talks are scheduled. Union negotiators were to present the new contract on Saturday to the SAG board, which is expected to reject it.
At that point, the events of the last eight months may repeat themselves, with strike murmurs beginning anew.
In the new talks, SAG negotiators had indicated they were open to the studios' proposed framework for online compensation. The studios budged on several small issues, but not on SAG's request that pay increases for actors be retroactive to July 1, 2008.