SAG set to discipline agents

Percenteries could lose franchises

The Screen Actors Guild plans to begin proceedings soon to discipline franchised agents who have sent non-union talent to shoots during the nine-week strike against advertisers.

The proceedings, which are likely to involve less than a dozen agencies, could lead to penalties up to loss of an agency’s franchise. “We are going to start to play hardball,” an unnamed union official said.

SAG warned agents three weeks ago that they risked revocation of their franchises if they continued to submit non-union talent during the strike. But it has apparently run out of patience with a handful of agencies which have continued to violate SAG rules since then, according to activists monitoring commercial shoots.

SAG officials have refused to name specific agencies but say the violators are not among the town’s largest.

Serious support

The Assn. of Talent Agents, which reps over 100 agencies, reiterated its support this week for its previously stated position of instructing agents not to send clients out to shoot non-union commercials during the strike.

“We fully support the strike and do not condone sending out clients for non-union work,” said ATA executive director Karen Stuart.

About 70 ATA members met Monday evening to hear updates from SAG officials about the strike, which started May 1, but the issue of rogue agents did not surface during the get-together.

No start date has been set for the disciplinary proceedings. For SAG to move against the agencies, it would have to submit written notification to a hearing tribunal and give the agency 10 days to respond.

Protests scuffles

SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists also have reported run-ins during this week’s protests at commercial shoots, including a scuffle involving a picketer at an Amstel Light shoot in Manhattan and crew members throwing debris at picketers during a Dodge shoot on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles. No injuries were suffered in either incident.

Chicago protestors have picketed at an AT&T regional center this week, leading to members of other unions such as the Teamsters, Operating Engineers and Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers honoring the picket line. Strike leaders have already targeted AT&T for several protests on July 11 because of its refusal to sign an interim agreement with the unions.

On Monday, actor Jason Alexander announced on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that he had been picketing in support of the strike.

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