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Bargaining Means Flexibility

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William Daniels, Screen Actors Guild national president, in this week's Back Stage exclusive interview, says that the unions will go back to the bargaining table in mid-September with "new proposals."

It's a good move. For the stalled contract talks to advance, negotiators must show flexibility; and the unions' willingness to take the lead in that area can only aid the bargaining process.

We're concerned, however, that such flexibility doesn't appear to exist on the industry side. The Association of National Advertisers, on its website last week, concluded its strike update with the following paragraph:

The way to end the strike is for the union to return to the table in September, join with the industry in modernizing the 1950s-based contract to reflect the realities of the television industry in the year 2000. There is no industry in the world that can survive in the year 2000 on a contract designed to reflect industry practices of the 1950s. We will continue to send this message to the unions.

The industry seems to be saying it will return to the talks, but stick to its guns. Such rigidity could quickly end the talks. We encourage the advertisers to take a close look at the unions' new proposals, and consider a more realistic and understanding approach of their own.

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