Gilbert: No ATA deal leads to ‘Wild West’

GSAs may become standard without resolution

SAG staff and leaders are painting a portrait of agents unleashed if SAG members do not OK a new deal with the tenpercenters.

In an internal memo to be posted today on Web site, SAG is warning that members of the Assn. of Talent Agents may impose far less restrictive agreements if SAG members vote down the tentative deal.

“It will be the Wild West out there,” said SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert. “It’s a very dangerous scenario for the members.”

SAG contends ATA members will have the power to sign actors to new deals — dubbed General Service Agreements — that lift the current 10% limit on commissions and expand the range of thesp revenues that can be commissioned to include all forms of compensation.

The posting also asserts that the ATA’s new GSA limits the rights of actors to select agents and contains no conflict-of-interest provisions and no limits on the length of contracts.

SAG also disclosed the ATA obtained approval for the new GSA from the state labor commission last December.

“If SAG members do not adopt the SAG-ATA Proposed Agency Agreement, we believe it is likely that agents will require actors to sign GSAs as a condition of representation,” it added.

But SAG treasurer Kent McCord, who is leading the campaign for the no vote, said SAG is presenting a far-fetched scenario and noted that labor commissioner Arthur Lujan has not weighed in on the prospect of widespread GSAs. McCord noted the GSAs are mostly granted for models performing print work.

“I think it’s unseemly that you have a union leadership setting out to members that they’re basically powerless against agents, rather than promising that SAG will aggressively go to the commissioner if the agents act unfairly,” McCord added. “Our union has abdicated a leadership role in the protection of performers.”

The SAG-ATA tentative deal will be voted on by SAG’s 98,000 members between April 3 and April 18. The ATA has not indicated specifically what its members will do if the vote is no.

The vote will be over revamping SAG’s Rule 16(g) master franchise agreement, which has been informally extended, to ease ownership restrictions on agencies. Proponents contend a yes vote is needed to avoid the chaos of deregulation, while opponents argue that unacceptable conflicts of interest would be created.

Gilbert asserted that there’s no hope of relaunching negotiations if the deal does not go through. “Absolutely not,” she said. “I don’t believe that there’s any way the major agencies will sign on to 16(g) if that happens.”

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