Leaders of SAG-AFTRA are in a bitter jurisdictional battle with Actors Equity over which union ought to cowl the taping of reside occasions.
The dispute went public Wednesday, when SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and Nationwide Govt Director David White delivered a message to members that they’re prepared to supply a waiver in an effort to create extra work alternatives for AEA members — however that it should include an acknowledgment of SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction
“That waiver accommodates a really clear assertion of our jurisdiction,” Carteris and White stated. “Regrettably, AEA has not agreed to the waiver.”
The message additionally raised the likelihood that Actors Equity could also be making an attempt to poach jurisdiction from SAG-AFTRA.
“Our discussions with AEA’s management about these waivers have surfaced very actual issues on the a part of their management over the long-term viability of the reside theater enterprise mannequin,” the duo stated. “In these conversations, it has turn out to be clear that, in a number of particular situations, AEA might have tried to increase their presence into our jurisdiction and believes that extending into SAG-AFTRA jurisdiction could also be strategically advantageous to AEA sooner or later.”
Mary McColl, government director of New York-based Actors Equity stated that SAG-AFTRA is utilizing the pandemic to say jurisdiction in Equity workplaces now and into the long run in a means they haven’t had earlier than.
“At a time when solidarity is required, SAG-AFTRA has chosen to disrupt the relationship between employers and actors that has existed for years, if not a long time,” McColl stated. “Finally, the employees are those who’re left behind.”
McColl has despatched an e mail to members saying that it had created non permanent COVID-19 distant work agreements based mostly on employers’ current collective bargaining agreements, producing greater than 3,400 work weeks, $2.5 million in earnings and greater than $670,000 in contributions to the well being fund. But it surely didn’t deal with SAG-AFTRA’s demand that its jurisdiction be acknowledged in waiver agreements.
“When these distant work agreements have been created, we defined to SAG-AFTRA that these agreements have been non permanent and just for current Equity employers, however that they have been vital for protecting members and the business afloat throughout this disaster,” McColl stated within the message.
“Sadly, since then, members have instructed us about longtime Equity employers signing with SAG-AFTRA, usually for performances going down in a theater so it may be captured for future use. Members have instructed us they have been supplied contracts for as little as $125 per day. A number of stage mangers instructed us they’ve been excluded completely, had their contracts revoked or been supplied work as unbiased contractors and with out employees’ compensation protections.”
McColl stated that it’s unfair for Equity members to signal with SAG-AFTRA: “That’s unfair to members such as you who anticipated your Equity well being and pension contributions, and who ended up with decrease pay. It’s unclear why SAG-AFTRA continues to signal longtime Equity employers to contracts that don’t meet Equity’s security or wage requirements. As a union, our job is to make sure that employees are protected with honest pay, advantages and a protected office. That is alleged to be a matter of solidarity all through the labor motion.”
McColl estimated that round 60 productions this yr have signed with SAG-AFTRA, amounting to $600,000 in misplaced earnings and $154,000 in misplaced contributions to the well being fund.
The letter from Carteris and White opened by saying, “We write to make you conscious of an rising challenge between SAG-AFTRA and our sister union, Actors’ Equity Affiliation (AEA). As , SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction could be very clear. We cowl recorded and broadcast media in all their varieties. Which means films, tv, new media, commercials, radio, music and sound recordings, and digital content material, whether or not recorded or delivered reside. In essence, all reside media or recorded media falls below our historic and conventional jurisdiction.”
The letter alleged that AEA leaders have turn out to be surprisingly “unsure” about SAG-AFTRA’s conventional jurisdiction, and that “uncertainty” has offered a critical problem to offering broad waivers to help the members of AEA. It added that SAG-AFTRA has for many years coated, recorded or reside broadcast shows together with Broadway reveals (e.g., “Hamilton,” “Diana” and “Jesus Christ Famous person”); televised particular occasions (e.g., the annual Tony Awards and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade); morning reveals (e.g., “The At present Present” and “Live with Kelly & Ryan”); late night time reveals (e.g., “The Tonight Present Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Present with Stephen Colbert” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”).
“Due to the pandemic and recognizing the challenges it has dropped at all of us within the inventive arts, we’re significantly aware of the wants of our sister unions within the reside theater sector,” Carteris and White stated. “SAG-AFTRA has supplied to permit AEA to cowl recorded and broadcast reside theater productions which might be squarely inside SAG-AFTRA’s jurisdiction below AEA contracts pursuant to the phrases of a written waiver in an effort to create extra work alternatives for AEA members.”
The message to SAG-AFTRA members included a hyperlink to the proposed draft settlement that may expire in April.