As anyone who reads this website knows, during the last few years, AFTRA has been poaching SAG Basic Cable Contracts by undercutting them and giving away actors residuals.
And as those who have been involved in the SAG/AFTRA Phase One Negotiations know, New York and Branch AFTRA Shills, in SAG clothing, vote in concert with AFTRA and “their go-along-to-get-along” Actors’ Last Leadership, to give AFTRA the majority say in contracts where they have, at the very best, only a ten percent stake.
Well, SAG NED Doug Allen, in concert with SAG President Rosenberg, and the Hollywood Membership First Leadership, has decided to take action.
So, a copy of a letter by SAG NED Allen exposing AFTRA’s underhanded, undercutting of SAG actors Contracts, along with other revealing statistics, in what can be best described as an effort to inform SAG members and rally them to the task ahead, was leaked to AFTRA’s Leadership. (Like I said, SAG’s USAN leadership is comprised for the most part of AFTRA Shills in SAG clothing.)
And now these “AFTRA First/Actors Last” propagandist have stepped in and have started to do what they do best, lie and send out disinformation.
The following so-called “Preamble” sent out by a group of New York based AFTRA leaders who identify themselves as “AFTRA Now”, lays witness to their duplicity, or dupedplicity.
As usual, the Old Dog has added a few enlightening comments. (This is a long one. If you haven’t got the time or inclination to read it, please don’t miss the first person account of how these AFTRA Contracts prey on unsuspecting actors, at the end of this post.)
AFTRAnow: As working professionals within our chosen fields, the leadership of AftraNOW believes that the widest, most diverse jurisdiction adds power and leverage to our union when bargaining for contracts. In an increasingly consolidated industry, having actors, singers, dancers, royalty recording artists, broadcasters of all stripes, radio professionals, voice over artists for recorded books, commercials, video games and an explosion of other uses, is a decisive advantage to the members seeking the best terms and conditions possible at the bargaining table.
Actually, the opposite is true, as has been proven in the Phase One negotiations. Broadcasters get off into a corner and solitarily negotiate their AFTRA broadcast contracts with terms that they are satisfied with, and once, they get what they want, they, then, are ready to give producers whatever they want in regards to the remaining ninety percent of the contract negotiations which concerns SAG Actors.
AFTRAnow:That’s why President Reardon terms AFTRA as “the paradigm for the 21st century arts and media union.” Read, or listen, to the short excerpt of her remarks at the link to the left.( The Ol’ Dog has included a transcript of that excerpt)
Roberta Reardon:There is an explosion of work opportunities today in the arts and media industries: a burgeoning multitude of delivery systemssatellite, the Internet, interactive, broadcast radio and TV, cable, and more. And regardless of the formatscripted, talk, reality, news, or musicit is ALL work for AFTRA members. The challenge is get to it under contract..
Instead of lowballing SAG scripted shows, perhaps Ms. Reardon, and her AFTRA Now Pals should concentrate on instigating some sort of rule one then try and organize their high profile broadcasters’ who work NON-UNION on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and other cable networks with impunity.
RRSo, why is AFTRA such a good fit for this brave-new-world of entertainment and information? It’s because AFTRA organizes opportunity for members at every budget level, in every area of jurisdiction, in all modes of distribution, in new media as well as old, in all geographical locations.
Ah, except in those Cable News Networks, ah, because their high profile AFTRA members might get pissed off an Decertifyah, wait some of them already have. Besides, it’s a lot easier just to go in and undercut SAG’s jurisdiction. Hey, so what if a few actors get screwed in the process. The important thing is that now that they have poached so many Basic Cable shows, they are once again able to increase that recently descending AFTRA pension for wealthy broadcasters, Voiceover and Soap actors from $8000 backup o $9000 dollars a month
RRWe are not a one-size-fits-all union. AFTRA IS diverse and we are proud of that. We are the paradigm for the 21st century arts and media union.
Translation they’ll do anything to stay afloat, even if it includes resizing, ah, make that DOWNSIZING actor’s contracts to keep AFTRA afloat.
RR:Today, performers work in many media and formats, not just one. Barbara Walters does news, talk, and interviews. Howie Mandell does stand-up comedy, performs on scripted shows, and hosts a game show. Kelly Ripa goes from daytime drama and primetime sitcoms to morning talk show host. Many of our sound recordings artists also act in series. Broadcasters can be heard on recorded books.
Oooops, in all that going and coming, she forgot to mention NBC staff members like Brian Williams who walk across the hall from NBC (union) to MSNBC to work non-union. Oh, and all those AFTRA members that work non-union on programs like the “Best Damn Sports Show”, and those AFTRA voice over folks who sneak down into their basement to do non-union spots on their handy dandy ISDN Lines.
RRWe all move around. And fortunately AFTRA is able to move with us.
Except down into those basements!
RR:AFTRA has a history of managing change. From radio to television, from broadcast to cable, from vinyl to downloads, from kinescope to video tapeand now to iPods, vPods, mobisodes, and digital. The pace of change in technology is dizzying. AFTRA’s mission is to be responsive to those changes. The key is to ensure that professional performers have a foot in the door in the new modes of production. Our contracts will grow as those businesses grow…
She should have addedEspecially if we keep undercutting SAG’s contracts and they do nothing about it! Now, lets get back to that AFTRAnow preamble.
AFTRA Now: Recent accusations, by a faction from SAG in Hollywood, which now includes their recently hired executive director, Doug Allen, regarding cable jurisdiction and contract undercutting are so false and so misleading that we post the following letter to set the record straight and to expose the real damage being done by SAG’s needlessly rigid bargaining.
Faction? The Entire Hollywood Board is a faction? Ah, actually there is one holdout from the voted out Restore Respect party, Morgan Fairchild. As to the claim that SAG’s bargaining policies are needlessly “Rigid” Are you beginning to get the gist of their argument? Why, by holding firm on residuals, which SAG predecessors struck to get, we are being too rigid in our bargaining.
I’m concerned that producers are forced to make residual payments on unprofitable movies and TV shows.
For SAG members who think our members should be fairly compensated for their talent, it’s pretty clear why we have to get pliable AFTRA off our backs, before SAG goes into our next TV/Theatrical negotiations with the Nick Counter, pictured above. For, you better believe that they will be more than happy to aleviate Nick’s concern’s about residuals AT SAG ACTORS’ EXPENSE!
AFTRAnow: It is our opinion that this is not a contest of unions, something the Membership First faction would like you to believe. It is a contest of ideas and approaches in a time of great change. As you’ll see, one set of ideas drives work away, another builds work here. AftraNOW solidly supports approaches that build the work where our members live and pay dues, an approach with support in BOTH unions.
Beware of those who talk about times of great change. It usually precedes the words, “Bend over and pick up the soap.
AFTRAnow: As working professionals, we prefer collaboration. But
The SAG Spin Just Doesn’t Wash – Here are the Facts:
Of course they prefer collaborating, especially when it’s with actors employers to collaborate actors out of residuals.
AFTRAnow: AFTRA and SAG HAVE ALWAYS SHARED JURISDICTION of DRAMATIC PROGRAMMING in CABLE TV even in the earliest days of cable, as recognized in the Phase One Agreement signed by both unions in 1981. You can’t “poach” what is already shared.
Not true! AFTRA’s only legal jurisdiction was decided long before 1981, back in 1952 by NLRB elections, which resulted in SAG getting jurisdiction on all shows that used actors, except those shows done in a LIVE MANNER. Photocopies of those 4a’s charters are posted on this website.
AFTRAnow: SAG’S CONTRACTS EXPORT OUR JOBS TO CANADA
Cable has been the fastest growing area of television for some time. That’s great news for performers. According to a report created by SAG staff, SAG had 9 live action cable series under contract in ’97. By ’07, there were 24 SAG series in production!
What these manipulators of information fail to mention is that back in 1997, AFTRA had NO live action basic cable shows. In fact, it was only after SAG organized these shows that AFTRA jumped on the bandwagon in 2001 by undercutting SAG’s contracts and giving away residuals. By using these “union-busting” low-ball tactics by 2007 AFTRA has gone from no live action shows in 1997 to 22 showsall of which were gained by low-balling either SAG minimums or residuals, in many cases both.
AFTRAnow: SO WHY DO SOME ACTORS THINK SAG WORK IS DECLINING? Because for American actors, it is. SAG shows are leaving the country. And if SAG cable series have almost tripled since ’97, why are actors being told that SAG is “losing” shows to AFTRA??
Duh! Without AFTRA’s poaching and undercutting SAG actors’ contracts, SAG would have 46 shows now instead of 24, and actors would not be being screwed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
AFTRAnow: Because AFTRA CONTRACTS KEEP CABLE JOBS HERE IN THE U.S. at American union rates and conditions, approved by American actors. When it comes to providing jobs here in America for union performers on cable dramatic shows, just look at the numbers:
So AFTRA Keeps Jobs HERE? One of those jobs that AFTRA claims they are KEEPING HERE is a basic cable series entitled “The Best Years.” How does the old saying go, one picture is worth a thousand words?
AFTRAnow: 90% of live action drama series under AFTRA cable contracts are produced in the U.S.
More manipulation of numbers by AFTRA propagandist. They are including their 13 half-hour shows. Half hour cable shows are generally filmed in the USA. For instance all of SAG’s half-hour shows in 2001/2002 where filmed in USA before AFTRA started poaching them by giving away residuals.
AFTRAnow: Almost 50% of live action drama series under SAG cable contracts are produced in Canada and other foreign countries. SAG’s answer is to sue Canada (see FTAC proposal), wasting even more of our dues dollars.
More AFTRA BS manipulation of the numbers. The only SAG shows filmed out of country are one-hour shows, and they are those that are not necessarily indigenous to the USA. And, for the most part, are Scifi type shows such as the 4400, Battlestar Galactic, The Dead Zone, Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and the Fallen.
AFTRAnow: The growth in U.S. union work in live action cable is occurring under AFTRA contracts.
Really then why are a THIRD of AFTRA’s one-hour shows shot out of country. Out of nine AFTRA cable one-hour shows, with inferior rates and residual giveaways. Two are shot in Canada and one in Australia. (Kyle XY and The Best years (Canada) and Monarch Bay (Australia).
AFTRAnow: So, why is AFTRA successful in keeping your job here while SAG exports your job?
Hmmm, another question where the premise is based, as we have shown, on a LIE. The evidence proves that the only thing that AFTRA is keeping is money they make by giving away your residuals in order to bolster their coffers and Health and Retirement
AFTRAnow: SAG’s rigid one-size-fits-all contract formula forces work out of the country when cable shows vary widely in scale and budget. Cable programs have radically different budgets and license fees than similar types of shows in broadcast television. Take a look:
Free TV: Budgets on dramatic programs range from $2 million to $6 million per episode
Cable: Budgets on dramatic programs range from $200,000 to $2 million per episode
And who are these poverty stricken producers AFTRA is giving your residuals away too in order to poach SAG Contracts? Why struggling companies like the Disney Channel, Lifetime, FX, and Nickelodeon. All who had contracts organized under SAG’s Jurisdiction until they were poached with giveaways by AFTRA.
AFTRAnow: YOU SIMPLY CAN’T BE PAID THE SAME FOR A SHOW THAT COSTS $200,000 TO PRODUCE AS A SHOW THAT COSTS $2 MILLION TO PRODUCE. As working members, we already know experimental films pay differently than big budget productions; that a 99-seat house off-Broadway will never pay what 2000 seats on Broadway pays; that ‘dealer spots’ pay much less than Class-A network commercials.
Give us a break. AFTRA is not signing up experimental TV shows. They are poaching shows that are appearing on cable companies owned by big corporations: Comedy Central, Disney Channel, FX, Nickelodeon, TBS, Lifetime, and the ABC Family Channel. These shows would not have gone non-union if AFTRA had not lured them with giveaways. There is no documentation of any live action non-union scripted shows on these big cable networks! Bottom line if they had not been poached they would have been SAG Shows–without residual giveaways.
AFTRAnow: OTHER MAJOR ENTERTAINMENT UNIONS GET IT: WGA, DGA, Teamsters, IATSE, all use varied contract formulas for basic cable dramas, acknowledging the difference between “high”, “medium”, and “low” budget cable shows. SAG does it for filmwhy not cable TV?
Man, can these, folks, come up with a lot of questions to excuse their low-balling of contracts. But, then you can’t blame them for sticking with questions, since all of their answers are easily proven to be false.
AFTRAnow: AFTRA MEMBERS HAVE ALSO RECOGNIZED THESE REALITIES, AND HAVE BARGAINED ACCORDINGLY TO KEEP WORK HERE.
The AFTRA National Board – performers like us – has worked to set the right combination of contract terms and conditions so every cast member is union-covered, and gets union rates and conditions. AFTRA uses one of four different contract formulas, depending upon the size and budget of the show. If you’re hired as a day player, 3-day player, or weekly actor on AFTRA shows such as Dirt, Army Wives, Darkness at Noon, Damages, Cory in the House or others, your base pay, hours and conditions are the same as if you worked on Lost, CSI or Law & Order. And you’re working it here, not in Canada.
Hmmm, again, how does the old saying go,”Two pictures are worth two thousand words.”
Hmmm, EIGHTY PERCENT OF MINIMUM AND TEN FREW EXIBITION DAYS. Now you see why AFTRA’s leadership won’t let anyone see these contracts? They contradict their lies!
AFTRAnow: ONLY SAG’S ‘MEMBERSHIP FIRST’ LEADERSHIP SEEMS TO THINK EVERYTHING ON CABLE SHOULD BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE. It’s that “thinking” that has sent almost half their shows out of the country. But a show shot across the border does not translate into a job for American actors. That’s why AFTRA members have worked over the past 25 years to find the right approach to negotiating cable. While some older contracts are still being improved, with each negotiation, AFTRA members are keeping our rates and conditions strong while also keeping work here in the U.S. for union actors.
Sorry, guys, we have already proven that you’re lying. Do they really expect anyone to believe AFTRA can keep jobs from going out of country. Hell, as we have pointed out they can’t even stop their Broadcasters and voice over members from working non-union
AFTRAnow: NO RESIDUALS? EVERY AFTRA CABLE CONTRACT HAS RESIDUALS.
For some shows, our residuals are paid “per run”, just like in the SAG contracts used in cable: AFTRA series such as I Hate My Thirties (U.S.), ‘Til Death Do Us Part (Canada), Noah’s Arc (Canada), and The Bill Engvall Show (U.S) all use this “per run” structure.
Hmmm, AFTRA Shows like “Till Death Do Us Part and “Noah’s Arc” are FILMED IN CANADA!, but, but, I thought AFTRA was “successful in keeping your job here while SAG exports your job?” Not only are these folks, liars. They prove it with their own statements.
AFTRAnow:For other cable shows, residuals are paid on an “exhibition window” structure, just like we have for pay TV under both SAG and AFTRA pay-TV contracts. The residual is delayed, but the trade is a higher payout when the residual is paid-75% or 40% of scale, depending on the type of show, instead of 17% of scale. AFTRA series which use the “exhibition window” include Dirt (U.S), Army Wives (U.S.), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (U.S.), and Suite Life of Zack and Cody (U.S.).
Duh? Everyone knows most of these shows don’t usually last over a couple of years. Oh, “Exhibition window”, that’s AFTRA code for screwing you out of your first years residuals.
AFTRAnow: Flexible and effective residual patterns help to keep opportunity here for members. The best terms mean nothing if they chase your job to a foreign country.
Ah, hello, just cause you bend over for employers, don’t mean you’re flexible!
AFTRAnow: THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ACTORS:
1. AFTRA and SAG have always shared jurisdiction in cable TV.
Lie. Working under a 4A’s Charter, SAG organized and had jurisdiction over ALL the live action Cable shows from 1996 through 2001 before AFTRA started poaching them with inferior contracts.
AFTRAnow: 2. AFTRA grows business. It doesn’t export it.
Just cause AFTRA Dumps on actors don’t mean its helping to grow business.
AFTRAnow: 3. AFTRA’s member-approved cable contracts are a rational approach to the variety of programs in cable, keeping production here, keeping opportunity here, and keeping jobs here.
Now that’s funny. Not only do they not let members vote on these contracts, hell they won’t even let them see them.
AFTRAnow: 4. Unions must organize more work for members and fight for stronger contracts, not fight each other.
AFTRA’s leadership is not organizing work, they are poaching it. If they didn’t have access to SAG actors, they couldn’t organize “Diddly Squat”. Especially, if “Diddly Squat” was a cable news network.
AFTRAnow:5. A union with wide jurisdiction and decades of experience, AFTRA is an important and effective answer to the challenges of our rapidly changing entertainment industry, not a “problem” to be taken care of by “Membership First” in Hollywood.
Yikes! They finally got one right. No, it’s a problem to be taken care of by SAG’s membership. Let your SAG leadership know that you’ll support them in their efforts to stop this pillaging of our great actors union.
AFTRAnow: The 2008 negotiations for AFTRA and SAG will be important to generations of performers. Fighting between our unions only benefits the producers and takes our eyes off the real prize: to raise cable rates, increase benefits and cover new media.
And does anyone seriously think this group of go-along-to-get-along Aftrans who are already giving away actors residuals, are going to help us go up against Nick Counter and the AMPTP who have already announced their intent to seek residual givebacks? Our only chance is for our SAG leaders with the support of the membership to DUMP THEM NOW.
AFTRAnow:Once again, AFTRA members stand ready to work together with all performers for the best contracts that keep work here. Once again, a Hollywood faction of SAG and their hired gun, Mr. Allen, want to pick a union fight.
If AFTRA sticks to their own jurisdiction, which includes shows shot in a Live Manner, and sticks to trying to organize game shows, news shows, talk shows, reality shows and the likes, there will be no fight. Otherwise they had better get their gloves on and as ring announcer Michael Buffer says, “Lets get ready to rumble.”
AFTRAnow: WHAT DO YOU WANT? To have a job or just read about one?
What these New York based “AFTRA First/Actors Last” members don’t seem to get is that Hollywood working actors want more than just a job. They want one where they are fairly rewarded for the talent they bring to a project. They want to work under contracts where they can make a living.
AFTRAnow: Don’t be fooled by the anti-AFTRA hype and phony bloc-voting schemes. Demand real partnership from your unions in upcoming contract negotiations. And demand ideas and contracts that work for all of us in the country where we live.
Believe us we are not fooled by double talk and obfuscation of the truth concerning AFTRA’s residual giveaways, especially by a group that puts AFTRA First, and Actors Last.
The Members of AftraNOW www.aftranow.com
Send your comments to email@example.com
Since this New York based group is trying to convince SAG members of the merits of Phase One and of AFTRA’s basic cable contracts, I think it is only fair to show you their TV/Theatrical credits. Not, only did I do an IMDB check, but spent several hours on the Internet cross checking their credits. (Of course IMDB credits in no way can measure the scope of a persons talent or dedication to their craft, however it can give you and idea of the stake they as a group have in SAG’s TV/Theatrical negotiations- and basic cable residuals.)
-Holter Graham AFTRA, SAG, AEA – voiceovers with several IMDB acting credits
-Roberta Reardon AFTRA, SAG, AEA Commercials and V/O No IMDB acting credits
-Anne Gartlan AFTRA, SAG, AEA- Commercials and V/O two IMDB acting credits
-Ed Fry AFTRA, SAG, AEA Soap Actor (1986/1989) with an additional 12 IMDB acting credits since 1979
-Lainie Cooke AFTRA, SAG Singer: 3 IMDB credits 2 looping one as herself the last one 1989
-Maureen Donnelly AFTRA, SAG, AEA Former SAG NY President-No IMDB Credits
-Catherine Russell AFTRA, SAG, AEA, AFM Local 802 singer with no IMDB credits
-Dan Ingram AFTRA, SAG broadcaster with three IMDB credits
-Sally Winters AFTRA, SAG, AEA I could find no IMDB Credits for Sally Winters unless she was a silent film actress
-Marie Masters AEA, AFTRA, SAG, WGAE, SSDC Soap Actress
-Frank Simms AFTRA, SAG: Musician with 3 IMDB credits 2 voiceover, and one as himself
-Richard Ferrone AFTRA, SAG, AEA One IMDB credit Restaurant Captain 1990
-Wendell Craig AFTRA, SAG: Broadcaster with I IMDB credit
-Dave Browde AFTRA, WGA(E), NABET Broadcaster 1 IMDB credit
-Anita Hollander AFTRA, SAG, AEA: Promo Announcer with 2 IMDB credits as a technical advisor
-James Lurie AFTRA, SAG, AEA: Actor narrator with several IMDB credits
-Polly Adams AFTRA, SAG, AEA: Voiceover actress with several IMDB credits
-Elaine Caswell AFTRA, SAG several IMDB credits as a Singer
-Tom Shillue AFTRA, SAG Writer Does voice impressions has 9 IMDB acting Credits since 1992
-Mitch McGuire AFTRA, SAG, AEA voiceovers, 5 IMDB credits since 1967, 3 playing himself
-Karla Moore AFTRA, SAG, AEA One IMDB Credit as a stand in 1994
-Russ Anderson AFTRA, SAG, AEA Recording artist with 13 IMDB acting credits since 1984
-Eric Rath AFTRA, SAG D.J./ Voice over talent with 5 IMDB credits
-Harry Peerce AFTRA, SAG, AEA Could find no IMDB Credits
-Joan Valentina AFTRA, SAG, AEA No IMDB credits. Stage actress
You, know, the Ol’ Dog can disprove as much of their lies and misinformation that he can, but nothing can take the place, or get the message across, like a first person account of how AFTRA’s deplorable contracts effect those who work under them. And in this case, not only actors, but child actors at that.
This was posted on Actors’ Access in response to the AFTRA Now Preamble post. It is being reprinted with the approval of the poster.
Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:42 am Post subject: Real Life
There’s so much bogus stuff in this propaganda letter, I don’t even know where to begin.
Well, actually, let me begin with this, a little context:
I have 2 children in the industry (plus one retired). They pay dues to both SAG and AFTRA. They actually work those contracts. So let me share a little reality. Here are some concrete examples, from my own experience. I’m not talking what “might” happen. I’m talking what REALLY happened.
RAVEN (SAG, Disney) vs. ZOEY (AFTRA, Nick)
Disney’s That’s So Raven was a SAG show. Half hour, scripted sitcom. It paid nicely…with residuals from the first rerun, both cable and network. My son did a guest star on the very first episode aired. He is still getting residuals from that (geez, it was on 3 times last Friday, so I don’t think the residual payments are discouraging Disney from showing it), and I’m guessing it has topped $10,000 over 5 years time.
In contrast, the same child did the first season of Zoey 101. Also a scripted sitcom (not a variety show), with a very similar run. At the time we thought it was odd that Nick was doing a SCRIPTED sitcom under an AFTRA agreement, but took the job anyway. We were on set the day that all the cast realized this was a secret AFTRA contract (later termed as the Uptown Agreement). It was a zoo…no one realized what they had signed on for–they had been told it was an AFTRA show, not a “special” AFTRA show with different terms. At least one cast member was on the phone to their agent all day. The agents weren’t aware either. It was completely shocking to everyone on set that AFTRA would have changed the agreement without a vote, or even notification to members that this contract existed. At the same moment, the voice actors from Danny Phantom were going through a similar revelation. So it wasn’t just Zoey cast.
When questioned at the time, AFTRA claimed that they made the Uptown deal because “they were keeping the shows from going non-union”. In reality, Nick was not doing any scripted shows non-union. And the stars were already cast (all union kids). There was zero risk of that show going non-union.
My point? Let’s not change history…AFTRA pulled a fast one and sold out their members, starting with the kids’ shows. And they did it on the sly. The “new” contract wasn’t announced, the agents didn’t know, the talent didn’t know.
And btw, we’ve seen the residuals in real life from Zoey. Years later, they are pitiful. Nothing in comparison to Raven.
LILO (SAG, Disney) vs. AVATAR (AFTRA, Nick)
Let’s talk voiceover. My daughter worked on Lilo and Stitch the Series for years. She has made many thousands from residuals (I would guesstimate about $8,000 per episode) SAG contract.
In contrast, she also did a voice on the Nick AFTRA series Avatar. We’ve seen 2 teeny residual checks in 3 years time. They don’t even break 4 digits.
RAVEN (SAG, Disney) vs. CORY (AFTRA, Disney)
Now, for the apples to apples example:
That’s So Raven was a SAG show. Last year they created a spin off of Raven. Cory in the House is the SAME PRODUCTION company, SAME stars, essentially the same budget. It’s the same work for the actors. But Disney is no dummy. They watched what happened with Zoey (a Nick show) and said, “hey…how come Nick gets to do sitcoms for a special, cheap AFTRA agreement?”–we have the same format! So they went AFTRA, and got the Zoey agreement to apply to them. Anyone seeing the slippery slope approaching here?
I’m sorry, but the AFTRA board is delusional if they don’t call that poaching. Cory in the House is a direct spin off of a SAG show. There is no question that it would have been SAG. It was already cast. They were not going out of the country to shoot. They were not going non-union. There was zero risk of any of that.
I don’t care who approached who first. AFTRA waffled when they created the Uptown Agreement (without a member vote, I might add), and now we are all sliding down the slippery slope they created.
Bottom line of $$$: AFTRA moved in and cost actors LOTS of money. The pay rate for Cory in the House is less than half of what SAG’s scale is (and btw, Raven was paying over SAG scale for it’s guest stars, so its not like they were hurting for money). Cory effectively won’t see residuals–don’t argue with me about the formula (your math needs some serious work–you can’t say 40% of scale is better when the session fee is less than half of the SAG session fee). I see the checks in the end, and that is the bottom line. If I compare apples to apples, Raven to Cory, that’s a loss of about $7,000 in my kid’s bank account over five years.
Sorry…I don’t need the hear the justification for WHY AFTRA sold out (they would go out of the country, non-union, smaller production budgets, etc). The fact is, they sold out when they absolutely didn’t need to. AFTRA lowered the pay rate.
My kids are AFTRA members, yes. I’m not impressed. AFTRA has done nothing for them. No education, no benefits, no returned phone calls (and believe me, I’ve tried dozens of times), no young performers committee, nada. The only thing I have ever gotten from AFTRA is a pay cut.
So tell ya what, AFTRA Now. You can fantasize that it is just “anti-AFTRA sentiment” and a small “faction” of SAG that feels this way. You can blame it on Doug Allen. But those who have worked the contracts see the bottom line, and we’ve seen it for a few years now.
It’s like the emperor’s new clothes—you can make a “statement” that sounds pretty, and has some nice stats as decoration. But the citizens see that AFTRA is naked.
P.S. AFTRA Now, a little advice on how to win friends and influence people:
1. Don’t dis your member’s other club. Most of your ACTING members are SAG as well, yes? It doesn’t endear us to you when you bag on SAG (who makes us more money, and gives us more services than you).
2. Start doing something on the level. Be transparent. Don’t make deals without a member vote, and then put the contracts up on your website so we can see what you actually did, and what we have to live with.
3. Start organizing the jobs that are currently non-union. Stay away from SAG’s territory. There are plenty of them out there–promos, etc. Impress us with your ability to bring in NEW jobs to the union fold. You could start with the kids background on your own AFTRA shows.
Thanks to Ms. Henry for allowing me to reprint her story. If we truly want to stop this betrayal of actors by AFTRA, we need for more individuals like Ms. Henry to step forward with their stories. The best way to stop AFTRA’s deplorable tactics are to expose them, and then all actors need to step up and say to AFTRA “NO MORE!”
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief