As if labor difficulties between the unions and the producers were not unsettling enough, a dispute between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists became more rancorous Thursday after SAG leaders sent messages to the membership urging that they vote to allow the union's board to terminate a joint bargaining agreement with AFTRA negotiated 27 years ago. The message accused AFTRA of launching an "assault" on contracts for basic cable "by offering producers cheaper contracts with less money for actors, usually with 10-15 free exhibition days, effectively eliminating residuals for one year after an episode airs." AFTRA has said that SAG demands are unrealistic and that numerous showings are required before an original cable drama can attract an audience the size of a broadcast network's.
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