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LOS ANGELES —� Two unions representing actors and other performers in the entertainment industry have begun labor negotiations that, if unsuccessful, could lead to another strike not unlike that of the months-long strike by members of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) last year. That strike, which ended in February, shelved television and film productions �— and the legal work associated with those deals. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which represents actors, was scheduled to begin labor negotiations with a group representing the studios, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, on Tuesday, April 15. “There’s a perception that SAG’s leadership is particularly aggressive in its agenda and willing to strike,” said David White, managing principal at Entertainment Strategies Group, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm for entertainment companies. White was SAG’s general counsel from 2002 to 2006. He said a central issue is how much the performers are entitled to in compensation from shows and films distributed on the Internet or other forms of new media �— the same dispute that arose with the WGA. But unlike the WGA, a strike by actors could encompass hundreds of people on a production, rather than a few writers. And the potential for a strike could be greater given the recent decision by another union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), to negotiate their own contract separately, White said. AFTRA, whose members, mostly performers, journalists and artists in entertainment and new media, opted last month to negotiate apart from SAG, is anticipated to begin its negotiations later this month.

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