The contract between the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood studios expires today. But will there be a strike? According to SAG President Alan Rosenberg… not yet.

“We have taken no steps to initiate a strike authorization vote by the members of Screen Actors Guild. Any talk about a strike or a management lockout at this point is simply a distraction.” (Source: USA Today)

I hope I’m not distracting anyone. By the way, the strike authorization process takes about three weeks and 75% approval by the members.

Since the 100-day WGA strike was resolved in February, union leaders and studio executives have been discussing many of the same issues hashed out in the writers’ deal. New Media, product placement, and DVD residuals are all back on the table.

Back channel talks and boardroom negotiations over the past few months broke down between the AMPTP and SAG. Rather than continue trying to hash out a deal, the studio reps put SAG on hold, saying they would first work out something with American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), a smaller union representing a broader range of performers. About 40,000 members of AFTRA are also members of SAG’s 120,000. AFTRA earned only $40 million in the last 3 years on the same contract as SAG, who earned $4 billion during the same period. (Source: Variety)

AFTRA and the AMPTP came to a tentative deal, one that SAG calls “weak” and worries will be used as leverage to get SAG to agree to a poor arrangement. The finalized deal still has to be ratified by its members, something SAG has been vehemently and publicly fighting against. The vote is expected in by July 8.

The SAG vs. AFTRA has even sparked a celebrity feud between Tom Hanks (who supports AFTRA’s approval of the deal) and Jack Nicholson (who supports SAG’s efforts to stop the deal).

Nikki Finke on her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog says, “Few people know that, when talks were resumed between the two sides after the enforced hiatus, the AMPTP refused to even offer [SAG] either the WGA deal or the AFTRA deal.” SAG had to negotiate from the ground up on the issues.

Contract talks recently resumed between AMPTP and SAG, as all eyes turn to AFTRA’s vote result. Right now there are no walkouts planned, but Hollywood studios are scheduling around a possible strike and TV shows are stockpiling episodes.