On March 19, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris notified the union’s 160,000 members that the nationwide headquarters in Los Angeles was closed to members, with the employees working remotely to reduce danger of publicity to the coronavirus.
Since then, about 60 SAG-AFTRA employees members of the performers union have continued to present up each day to the headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard to preserve residual checks going out to members through the pandemic. They’re processing about 146,000 checks per week, a price of about Eight million checks on an annualized foundation.
It’s a job that’s carried out partly by huge tools — machines that had been initially nicknamed Boris and Natasha after the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” characters — which open and scan the residuals checks, then insert them into envelopes for remailing.
Valery Kotik, nationwide director of residuals processing, trusts and estates, advised Variety that the necessities of getting that many checks bodily into the mail makes it unimaginable for employees to carry out the duties remotely.
“Working here’s a little lonely,” Kotik mentioned. “We’re training social distancing so the staff is unfold over two flooring. We’re taking the precautions very significantly so everyone seems to be sporting masks and gloves.”
The chief emphasised that he’s intensely pleased with those that present up every single day to get the checks processed at a time when the funds are badly wanted by the non-star rank-and-file members.
“The staff have to be empathetic with the members,” Kotik mentioned. “I couldn’t be happier with the response of the staff. They’re attempting actually arduous.”
The primary residuals for members of the Display screen Actors Guild got here in 1952, when it labored out a deal for TV reruns. It then expanded the funds in 1960 when it obtained the primary residuals on characteristic movies bought to TV, following a seven-week strike that halted eight main productions, together with Elizabeth Taylor’s “Butterfield 8” and Jack Lemmon’s “The Wackiest Ship within the Military.” Studios agreed to pay residuals for motion pictures produced after the date of the settlement, and paid $2.25 million to begin the pension and well being fund as compensation for motion pictures produced earlier than 1960.
SAG merged with AFTRA in 2012. SAG-AFTRA’s contracts at the moment present that when a residual is generated, the employers have 60 days to pay the performers.
“As soon as we get the funds, we strive to get the cash to the members as shortly as doable,” Kotik mentioned.
SAG-AFTRA introduced a yr in the past that it had launched an automatic residual cost course of that turned accessible to members as of Could 1. The performers union first introduced in 2017 that it had entered right into a multiyear settlement with Exactuals, a Los Angeles-based funds software program firm, to ship residual funds via direct deposit.
Kotik mentioned that about 19,000 members — about 12% of the membership — have signed up for the automated residuals funds.
“We course of about 27,000 of these every week,” he mentioned. “We’re happy with the response. Direct deposit is extra handy, particularly now.”