Hollywood actors, producers resume labor talks as strike fears fade

(Xinhua) Hollywood's largest actors union and the trade group representing major studios Tuesday resumed labor talks to renew an already expired contract, as possibilities of another industry-wide strike have faded.

The new round negotiations between the two sides, expected to meet Tuesday and Wednesday, are the first since November when their talks deadlocked after actors demanded better terms than other Hollywood professionals.

It is also the first talks after the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which has more than 120,000 members in Los Angeles and New York, elected a more moderate board and fired their chief negotiator last month.

Negotiations between SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major movie studios and television networks, had been expected to resume earlier this month, but were put on hold when SAG's president legally challenged the ouster of the union's chief negotiator.

SAG President Alan Rosenberg went to court in hopes of overturning the reconstitute union board's decision to oust SAG executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen, claiming that Allen's ouster violated California's corporate code and should be nullified.

But a Los Angeles Superior Court judge disagreed, ruling that the board was 'permitted to do exactly what they did.'

The SAG contract covering motion picture and television production expired June 30 last year. Contract talks deadlocked when SAG demanded better terms than other entertainment industry unions, including unions of writers and directors, received.

It was reported that the main sticking points during the negotiations have been the amount of pay for programming shown over the Internet and DVD sales.

With contract talks stalled, some SAG leaders pushed for the union to hold a strike-authorization vote from its members on January 2, but it was postponed amid growing dissension within the union, leading to fears that the vote would fall short of the required 75 percent yes vote.