A planned strike of some of Saturday Night Live's crew members may have just been averted. According to a new report from Variety, the post-production editors on the long-running sketch comedy series have reached a tentative three-year deal with NBC. If the deal is accepted and ratified by the group of crewmembers, it would lead to pay increases of up to 60% over the life of the contract and deliver immediate pay boosts.
This new contract would also offer workers healthcare benefits, ratification bonuses, guarantees of employer-paid meals, transportation and hotel accommodations for employees working long shifts with short turnarounds. The editors had previously set a strike deadline of April 1st, which would not need to happen if this deal is accepted.
Why would SNL go on a strike?
The post-production editors largely work on Saturday Night Live's pre-recorded segments, and have been criticizing the series for underpaying them and not providing adequate health benefits. The guild made proposals to NBCUniversal last December, but were not met with an "adequate" response by their parent company.
"Strikes are not funny, and it's also not funny that NBCU is driving us to take this step to guarantee fair pay and benefits for our members," Alan Heim, president of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, said in a statement to Variety. "The fact is that these workers play a key role in making 'SNL' the comedy institution that it is and they deserve the same standards as other workers on the show have," Heim added about the Saturday Night Live negotiations. "That is why we are thankful for all the outpouring of support they have received from other crafts and cast members on the show. This support is helping to ensure that management will eventually do the right thing."
"The film workers at SNL last year made it clear they want a union, and management acknowledged their wishes," Cathy Repola, national director of Motion Picture Editors Guild previously said to Deadline. "Therefore, it's very disappointing that despite the Guild's best efforts, there is still no framework for a contract in place. We remain committed to getting a contract in place as soon as possible and leave all options on the table to achieve that goal."
"This talented editorial crew works at breakneck speed under extraordinarily tight schedules in order to ensure 'Saturday Night Live''s timely satire makes it to the screen each week," Louis Bertini, MPEG's Second Vice President also explained last year. "We salute them for standing together to have a voice on the job. Behind the scenes and in front of the cameras, a slew of talented artists and craftspeople help to make 'SNL' the cultural touchstone that it is, and much of that talent already enjoys the benefit of union contracts. We're glad that these editorial employees will now be joining 'SNL's' unionized workforce."
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