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SAG condemns guild quitters

Board cracks down on 'fi-core'

SAG’s going to start slamming the door on thesps who quit the union.

Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild are toughening up the guild’s policy on how it treats members who file for “financial core” status. Members who go “fi-core” resign their SAG membership and withhold the dues spent by SAG on political activities but can still work on union jobs.

At a weekend membership meeting, national exec director Doug Allen and national director of organizing Todd Amorde indicated that those who do go “fi-core” generally won’t be allowed back into SAG. That disclosure prompted enthusiastic reaction from the 500 SAG members in attendance at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City.

“It’s going to be quite a bit more difficult to get back in, because resigning from the union is a conscious decision,” Amorde told Daily Variety. “It’s been sort of a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy, but the board of directors has given us a directive to be much more stringent.”

Amorde said the new policy’s part of a larger SAG initiative to improve organizing of non-union work and to become the authoritative source on the implications of going fi-core. (SAG doesn’t disclose how many members have done so.)

“What we’re going to stress is that it may be your right under federal law to go fi-core, but it’s not a good idea,” he added.

The initiative’s an outgrowth of efforts from a task force created last year and headed by board member Paul Napier to explore how to deal with such members. Guild leaders have become increasingly concerned in recent years over actors circumventing discipline under SAG’s Rule One — an internal rule that explicitly bars members from working for producers who are not signatory to SAG agreements.

Those who violate Rule One can be fined, suspended or expelled after a trial board hearing.

SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg and several board members leafleted last month outside an audition for a non-union Mercedes-Benz commercial. It was the guild’s first such effort in several years in the Hollywood area.

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