SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity, the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America East, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have jointly joined a pledge to combat workplace harassment.
The entertainment industry unions made the announcement Thursday — more than a year after the blockbuster revelations about disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein rocked show business and revved up the #MeToo movement. The Department of Professional Employees (DPE) of AFL-CIO said Thursday that the pledge grew out of a Dec. 13 meeting of a dozen unions, which pledged to share contract language, training resources, codes of conduct, and best practices to enhance the individual efforts of each union.
“Creative professionals work side-by-side in shared workplaces, which is why their unions are committed to collaborating on industry-wide improvements,” said DPE president Jennifer Dorning. “DPE affiliate unions representing arts, entertainment, and media professionals are committed to learning from one another in an effort to develop even more effective ways to help eliminate incidents of harassment on the job.”
The DPE also said the unions will regularly convene to ensure they live up to their pledge along with continuing their work of championing greater systemic equity, diversity, and inclusion in the creative industries. The other unions at the Dec. 13 meeting included the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Musical Artists.
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SAG-AFTRA, which reps many of the key figures in the #MeToo movement, issued a “Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment” on Feb. 10 instructing its 160,000 members on how to deal with the issue. In April, union leaders called for an end to the practice of holding professional meetings in private hotel rooms or residences.
“We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris at that point.
In August, SAG-AFTRA members ratified a non-primetime deal with the networks that includes language limiting auditions in hotel rooms and private residences. It’s the first time the union had included those specific provisions in a master contract.