I've been pretty quiet on the SAG/AFTRA dispute mostly because I don't know very much about what is going on. Both guilds cover the same kinds of jobs for the most part, SAG has more members but most of them are represented by both.
AFTRA is like the DGA in that they seem more interested in getting a contract as fast and as easily as possible even if it means signing bad deals, while SAG has over the years been growing more unhappy at being undercut and at having a smaller partner having equal voting rights just so they can get stabbed in the back. From what I gather, SAG has tried to cut ties with AFTRA in the past and really would like to do so now, but hasn't been able to push it through. AFTRA really wants the partnership to continue since they get a lot of bang for their buck where that power would otherwise vaporize if they had to stand on their own. Since I'm not up on the subject beyond this, I've tracked down a few items from the web that anyone interested in the SAG/AFTRA dispute and the SAG-AFTRA/AMPTP negotiations might find helpful.
The Split: New SAG & AFTRA Explanations Dueling letters from the SAG and AFTRA leadership spinning a recent dust-up between the guilds, courtesy Deadline Hollywood Daily. It looks like AFTRA broke off joint bargaining with SAG this past weekend which is news to me since as I said above, the last time I looked into all of this, AFTRA was the one that was threatening legal action if the agreement wasn't upheld. This weakens them both, but AFTRA considerably more so than SAG. This could easily pave the way for a SAG strike this summer over the actors displeasure with the 17-day (14?) window which the networks get to stream all their content without paying the creators anything for it. The DGA had a bad window, the WGA made it better, but SAG wants it gone entirely.
Breaking Down The SAG / AFTRA Squabble Defamer says that this split has thrown a monkey wrench in the AMPTP plans to avoid yet another work stoppage -- they can't figure out who to bargain with first. My guess is AFTRA first since they seem like the type to just want a deal done without any real effort to secure gains, but not because of anything SAG is doing. It's an opportunity for the AMPTP to do to SAG what they tried to do to the WGA, re: the DGA "wedge" strategy.
'Things going well' for SAG, AFTRA An amusing post from the Hollywood Reporter a few days before things blew up. It's temping to say that THR was doing a fluff piece based on press releases and soft nothings whispered into their ears late at night, rather than doing anything resembling actual journalism. Truth be told, I think based on how SAG has reacted, AFTRA was plotting this blowup for sometime.
[Note: a more recent story on THR reports that SAG has set a date of April 15th to start talking with the AMPTP.]
If anyone knows something I don't, feel free to leave a comment or send me a note. Otherwise, it'll be an interesting month for sure. We're not far from the expiration of SAG's contract with the AMPTP -- sometime in July.