‘SNL’ Post-Production Editors on Possible Strike: ‘Everybody Is Ready to When Necessary’

The “Saturday Night Live” post-production editors are looking to NBC for answers as contract talks continue, and are ready to strike if their requests aren’t met.

On Jan. 12, the 20-odd “SNL” staff members who create the live sketch comedy series’ pre-taped segment approved a strike authorization vote. The editors unionized with the Motion Picture Editors Guild last October.

Sources tell Variety that although bargaining sessions have been taking place to seek a fair contract, no agreement has been reached. As previously reported, there is still no framework for a contract in place and sticking points remain, notably around the issue of their healthcare plans. The two sides still appear to be far apart.

And as talks stall, the crew has continued to apply pressure on NBC.

Before the taping of the Feb. 3 episode, post-production editors handed leaflets to people outside NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center.

At the end of the episode, cast members like Colin Jost and James Austin Johnson sported t-shirts that said “contract now.” A source close to the talks said, “It was amazing to see the cast members in the shirts and get that support.”

Cast and crew have also taken to social media to show their solidarity, and an online petition has received over 1,000 signatures. “We’ve gotten support from the actual show itself, and they’ve been very supportive,” the source said. “It’s NBC holding it back.”

Representatives for NBCU did not respond to a request for comment.

The show is currently on a two-week hiatus, but at what point would a strike be likely?

“Everybody is ready to when necessary. We’ve all agreed that when ‘enough is enough,’ we’re looking at NBC,” the source said.

While specifics of the contract talk could not be divulged, sources close to the negotiations say post-production editors pull off the impossible. What would normally take a post team weeks to complete is done in mere hours. They understand that will require long days and nights, but they believe they need better benefits.

“Everything is shot on Friday, and it goes from there to the lead editor, and it’s worked on,” the source said, noting the team’s ability to pull off elaborate parodies on short notice. “‘The Mario Kart’ sketch on the show last week needed graphics and effects, and a lot of work,” the source said. “That should take weeks, [it’s] done in two days.”

Due to the tight turnaround, the crew members are working overnight to ensure delivery in time for the show’s airing. “We get the footage and the cut starts to come together. There are a couple of different editors per piece,” the source said. “One editor would go sleep for a little bit, and then the other editor will come in and continue to work, and when the other editor has slept, they come back and work into the show.”

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