When we pick up at Part Two of the “Mean Ol’ Memo” from former AFTRA Hollywood President, Susan Boyd, she’s trying to convince SAG members that if AFTRA hadn’t stepped in and poached a SAG Basic Cable contract, during SAG’s negotiations of the contract, the poached show would have gone non-union. As we rejoin Ms. Boyd she is saying.
Instigated by the dog pac, infighting over whose jurisdiction is whose gets us one thing and one thing only: jobs lost to non-union producers.
: This is the AFTRA Mantra to justify poaching SAG jobs. “Oh, we had to undercut SAG or the job would have gone non-union.” Meanwhile, there has been no infighting over jobs under AFTRA’s jurisdiction that’s because SAG has respected AFTRA’s jurisdiction. No, AFTRA can’t use infighting as the reason that Cable networks like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC and more,remain non-union. And they can’t blame infighting for the fact that their leadership stands idly by–while AFTRA members like Larry King, and other high-profile AFTRA members, work non-union with impunity. Sometimes, the Ol’ Dog thinks, perhaps, the problem with some of the AFTRA leadership ain’t infighting, but inbreeding.
“Under five stipulation”. Raise your hands, class, if you know what that means. Yes? You, in the back row? The one who’s actually been on a daytime drama set? That’s where you’ll find a category of work called “five lines or less”. It exists nowhere else but in the AFTRA Network Code, where by the way you’ll also find AFTRA holding the line on background caps that were instituted when SAG absorbed the Screen Extras Guild.
And the reason, there’s under five in the AFTRA network code, is because AFTRA negotiates it alone! In regards to AFTRA and Background actors, read this announcement from Playback magazine! Playback is primarily an AFTRA magazine out of Chicago, which, by the way, is supported, in part, with SAG funds.
So, what’s the big deal you may ask? Check the rate of pay. Yep! An AFTRA union publication is running an announcement alerting their members that non-union background performers are needed. Not only is AFTRA “holding the line” as Ms. Boyd brags, but they are dangling bait from that line for their members to do non-union work. Huh? Oh, right, the AFTRA Mantra: If we hadn’t of made the announcement those two shows would have gone non-union!
The dog would have you believe this provision is a universal one. A little knowledge spread over a wide area becomes Membership First fertilizer for misinformation.
: “Fertilizer for misinformation?” Talk about a Turdgent remark. The Ol’ Dog made no such claim. But then Ms. Boyd is the expert on spreading misinformation. Most of what she says Flies in the face of the facts.
Class who can tell me what an “exhibition day” is? I’ll bet you think it’s unique to AFTRA. Not at all look at section 78 of the SAG Basic TV Contract.
Although Ms. Boyd would like to dome you with dunce hats, and have you believe that the section she is referring to, has something to do with SAG’s Basic Cable agreement–it doesn’t. Section (78,) by the way, was jointly negotiated by SAG and AFTRA over twenty years ago– and only applies to pay TV! SAG’s Basic Cable Agreement, unlike the cable show AFTRA recently poached by offering only 80% of the day rate with 10 free exhibition days, does not give away any free exhibition days, and pays 100% percent of the day rate.
SAG could have gone after the show “Darkness at Noon”, but the production budget was under SAG’s radar. This pilot to which the dog refers would have been done non-union if AFTRA hadn’t organized it. That would mean no benefits for anyone in either union, but plenty of time for a new producer to get used to using non-union talent.
A new Producer? Ms. Boyd is at it again. Get that fly swatter, and watch your step. The show in question, now titled “Minor Accomplishments” has completed six episodes using all SAG Talent. The shows creator, executive producer, writer and lead actress Laura Kightlinger was a Writer/Producer on “Will & Grace” where she also had a recurring role as Nurse Sheila. One of the first episodes of Minor Accomplishments, “Cult Classic” stars Sally Kellerman. Ms. Boyd is spreading it pretty thick to get you to believe that Ms. Kightlinger, Sally Kellerman, and the cast of SAG regulars, would risk being brought up on charges for working this show if it had gone non-union?
And does anyone really believe that Ms. Kightlinger, producer of “Will And Grace” would have done the show non-union, without having access to SAG talent if AFTRA hadn’t low-balled SAG’s day rate. Especially, since they saved only 148 dollars per actor, per day, from the SAG rate.
Taking into consideration, the days worked by the regular cast members in the first six episodes, the total day rate savings for the entire cast, per day, is around a whooping.
700 HUNDRED DOLLARS
Contrary to Ms. Boyd’s fertilized facts, if AFTRA hadn’t been so eager to low-ball SAG’s Basic Cable Contract, the show would have been shot under it. And the cast regulars, all with a history of working SAG projects, would have been employed under it. And they would have received the full SAG Basic Cable Rate, instead of 80%, and full residuals instead of giving up 10 exhibition days. That is, if AFTRA hadn’t been so eager to screw actors.
If this show is a hit, AFTRA’s leadership will have hurt hundreds of actors with their poaching, for no other reason but to put money into AFTRA’s coffers, and of course, to get the inside track on organizing more shows.
“For most actors, the bulk of their work is under a SAG contract.”
Exactly, and if AFTRA would stop poaching and low-balling, ALL of their work would be under a SAG contract.
So? Most actors don’t qualify for SAG benefits.
Exactly, again! But many more would, if AFTRA would stop infringing on SAG’s jurisdiction and forcing SAG Actors to split up their benefits by working under an AFTRA contract and contributing to AFTRA’s Pension and Health plan without any likelihood of receiving any benefits from it.
The overwhelming majority of actors pay minimum dues to SAG because they don’t work the contracts.
: At least all SAG members have worked a contract. Unlike AFTRA where the only qualification is one’s bankroll. And, at least in SAG, members get to vote on what that minimum will be, and when their dues will be raised– unlike AFTRA which recently had a members assessment of a hundred bucks, but, but, they didn’t get to vote on it.
The object of the game is to work, not just to hold a SAG card. These Hollywood members will tell you what a shame it is to “split” your benefits, but they leave out the part about the $6,000.00 monthly cap on the SAG pension.
Talk about being out of touch. We’re talking about benefiting the little guy struggling to get by, and Ms. Boyd is worried about those folks who make millions.
AFTRA’s cap is $8,000.00 a month.
Hooray, for the millionaire broadcasters. Oh, by the way, if they and others, want that 8 grand a month, they had better qualify NOW, because just a few short years ago, the AFTRA cap was $12 grand a month: down one-third in just a couple of years. The way things are going, it won’t be long until they’ll be given an autograph picture of Big John and a bus ticket to Bakersfield.
And FYI, it takes only $7,500.00 of earnings in AFTRA to earn a vesting credit, but $10,000.00 in SAG.
And FYI, if you are an actor who does radio spots under an AFTRA contract, you would have to do 30 spots a year, to qualify! And of course, and if you’re like most actors, only doing a couple of AFTRA shows a year, you’ll never see any of your P&H moneyah, unless, of course, you get a broadcasting job.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Coming soon Part Three of the “Mean Ol’ Memo” when the Ol’ Dog gets pissed!