Los Angeles - The Screen Actors Guild Tuesday all but dismissed a "last and final offer" from TV and movie producers presented just before the existing work contract governing its 120,000 members expired at 0701 GMT.
The Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said its proposal offered the 120,000 members of the industry's largest acting union the same terms that it reached with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a smaller actors union.
The new deal offered actors up to 250 million dollars in additional earnings, according to an AMPTP statement, which also said that the movie and TV studios would refrain from locking out the actors while the union considers the offer.
Talks of the lockout signaled the most bellicose statements yet from the AMPTP. Fears of a major conflict that could paralyze production for the second time in a year were further heightened when SAG leaders complained that the proposal was deeply flawed.
The main sticking point is over the residual payments for actors when their work is used over the internet or other digital media.
"This offer does not appear to address some key issues important to actors," SAG national executive director Doug Allen told trade paper Variety. "For example, the impact of foregoing residuals for all made-for-new-media productions is incalculable and would mean the beginning of the end of residuals."
Variety said that SAG was unlikely to make a formal response until after AFTRA members vote next week on whether to ratify the contract reached with the producers. SAG members make up 40,000 of AFTRA's 73,000 members and SAG leaders have urged them to reject the agreement.
The producers organisation warned however that it expected a quick response. "We hope that SAG's Hollywood leadership will not make the tragic mistake of misleading their members by suggesting that additional stalling will lead to a better offer at a later time," the group said. "We have compromised again and again this year to reach four major labor agreements - agreements that satisfied the DGA, WGA and AFTRA - and we have now reached the end of this process." (dpa)