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Issues Unresolved as Directors Move Toward a Walkout

July 01, 1987|MICHAEL CIEPLY and DENNIS McDOUGAL | Times Staff Writers

Serious issues remained unresolved in contract negotiations between the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as the two sides met late into the night Tuesday in an attempt to prevent a threatened strike.

The guild's current three-year contract was to expire at midnight. It was not immediately clear whether the talks, as in past negotiations, would continue past the deadline.

A strike against movie and TV producers by about 8,500 directors' guild members could begin as early as Friday unless a new agreement is reached, guild officials have said.

Meanwhile, about 2,800 members of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians continued their walkout, picketing NBC facilities from Burbank to Manhattan.

Carrie Biggs-Adams, president of Burbank's NABET Local 53, said Tuesday that the union was sending letters to all NBC advertisers asking them not to buy air time or otherwise support the network or its owned-and-operated radio and television stations, including KNBC-TV Channel 4 in Los Angeles, for the duration of the strike.

Channel 4 has begun to show the strain of operating without its technical employees, with frequent sound loss and film foulups on locally produced news programs. Network programs, including the "Today" show and "NBC Nightly News," have not had nearly the same number of glitches, but those programs also have shown signs of technical difficulties since the strike began Sunday night.

Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.), who declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination Monday, was criticized by NABET officials Tuesday for appearing on the "Today" show. Union spokesman John Krieger said NABET had asked both Gore and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger--both scheduled guests on the NBC morning news program--not to appear, but both men did.

Impact in Iowa

Gore appeared via satellite from Des Moines, Iowa, where he was campaigning. Even though neither Gore nor Weinberger physically crossed the NABET picket line, Krieger said that the union regarded even remote camera appearances on the NBC broadcast as a violation of the picket line.

Gore's Iowa campaign coordinator, Reid Wilson, reportedly said Gore's appearance was arranged two weeks ago, when a strike was only a possibility. Wilson said the Gore campaign was unaware that a strike might affect a Midwestern state such as Iowa.

The Directors Guild discussions continued to focus on producers' demands--rejected by the guild--that directors and their assistants give up their right to residual payments from "pay-per-view" television shows, and surrender some residuals tied to cable and syndicated TV.

In the last week, the producers dropped an earlier demand that directors give up many videocassette residuals. The guild subsequently offered a proposal that would have overhauled the resid1969318944guarantees against the colorizing or editing of new films for television, but an alliance bargainer said the colorization issue was later removed from the table.

The producers also are seeking the right to eliminate directors' credits from a substantial amount of newspaper and other advertising, purportedly to "enhance the value" of advertising space, according to sources familiar with the talks. The directors rejected the proposal, which--if accepted--could presumably lead to a similar elimination of writers' and other credits that are often linked with those of directors.

Guild negotiators are expected today to recommend whether members should accept or reject management proposals at meetings that are scheduled tonight in Los Angeles and Thursday in New York. The Los Angeles session will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, a guild spokesman said.

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