SAG panel backs OT reduction

Hollywood’s crews are gaining support from a key group in the Screen Actors Guild in their effort to stem the use of overtime in TV and film production.

SAG’s western Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to back their cause, called “Brent’s Rule,” which calls for a maximum 14-hour workday. The guild also will request that the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee take up the issue at its next meeting.

“We have taken this action, because of the growing practice of driving casts and crews to work 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-hour days,” SAG President Richard Masur said in a letter to Bruce Doering, executive director of the Intl. Photographers Guild. “We feel that this practice, while not prohibited under our contracts, is wrong and must be addressed.”

SAG took up the matter on the request of the Intl. Photographers Guild Local 600 and members of the crew of “Pleasantville.” The pic’s second assistant cameraman, Brent Hershman, was killed last month in an accident while driving home from a 19-hour workday, and many believe he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

“No other industry would consider a 12 or 14 hour day ‘normal’ let alone countenance a work span of 17 or 18 hours,” Masur said in the letter. “It has reached the point where it is clearly endangering not only the quality of the work but the safety of all involved.”

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