Striking actors have warned agents that they risk losing their agency franchises if they submit nonunion performers for work on nonunion commercials.
The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists — now in the 40th day of their strike against advertisers — said the notification came in response to reports from members and sympathizers that agents have been sending out strikebreakers.
“We have received distressing reports that some franchised agents have submitted nonunion performers for struck work,” said chief SAG negotiator John McGuire and AFTRA chief negotiator Mathis Dunn. “These agents are only prolonging the strike and playing a harmful, counterproductive role to our achieving a fair contract.”
McGuire and Dunn stressed that the “vast majority” of agents have supported the strike. “Your continued solidarity with us in our strike against the employers and advertisers for television and radio commercials is invaluable,” they added.
Leaders of SAG, which has the power to suspend and revoke agency franchises, said between seven and 10 smaller agencies have been investigated, but they did not identify the offenders. They emphasized that no formal proceedings have been launched against any tenpercentery but that action would take place within the next two weeks if the problems persist.
“This is a warning shot across the bow,” board member Chuck Sloan said. “We believe most of the agencies are getting the message, but there are a few who are taking advantage of this. If it weren’t for them, this strike would be over.”
The Assn. of Talent Agents, which reps more than 100 agencies, said in response that it remains committed to its previously stated position of instructing agents to not send clients out to shoot commercials (Daily Variety, May 5).
“We’re six weeks into the strike and the ATA has not changed its position at all,” said ATA executive director Karen Stuart. “We’re in total support of SAG and AFTRA in their quest for a fair commercials contract.”
In a recent posting on its Web site, the ATA disclosed it has told the unions that accusations of agents submitting nonunion actors may stem from submissions by nonfranchised agents or from actors falsely claiming they have been submitted by franchised agents.
Picketers target U
SAG and AFTRA picketers in Los Angeles focused their efforts Thursday at the gates of Universal Studios, where commercials for Nabisco, Ford, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pacific Bell and Campbell’s Soup have been shot or are scheduled to shoot in the next week.
Organizers claim disruptions during shoots and successful efforts to lure nonunion talent away from sets have resulted in producers shooting far fewer commercials than usual at off-lot locations in L.A. and New York.
The unions also reported drawing more than 400 protesters to the Museum of Modern Art in New York late Wednesday in response to a meeting by the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers.
The trade group has insisted it has kept up the pace of commercial shoots by using nonunion talent and going to offshore locations and secondary domestic sites.