SAG-AFTRA strike: The strike rules, and the exceptions

As of July 2023, the leadership of SAG-AFTRA enacted a strike by its 160,000 members after failing to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers (AMPTP).

The ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has coincided with the strike by members of SAG-AFTRA, marking the first time in 63 years that all Hollywood actors have gone on strike. This is the first strike to occur following the merger of AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in March 2012, organized by this newly formed organization.

Commercials and promotional work for brands/retailers are not the only ones affected by this strike, but other types of content as well. SAG-AFTRA members are prohibited from sharing any content related to film and television projects on their social media platforms, attending film festivals or awards shows, or participating in interviews once their work is completed. Additionally, they are not allowed to be present at film or television premieres or take part in any promotional activities for productions made under a SAG-AFTRA agreement. Furthermore, Hollywood film and television productions are immediately halted, along with the activities of SAG-AFTRA members.

Prohibited employment according to SAG-AFTRA.

SAG-AFTRA has published guidelines regarding prohibited behavior for its members, which apply to various services such as work performed under TV/theatrical contracts with any company affiliated with the AMPTP (referred to as a “struck company”) as well as negotiations for future agreements and publicity activities. These guidelines also encompass other covered services and ensure that certain actions are not allowed.

  • Being a principal requires proficiency in various on-camera activities, including acting, singing, dancing, performing stunts, operating on-camera aircraft, puppeteering, performance capture, or motion capture work.
  • Unless the services are included in a different collective bargaining agreement, the narration, which includes audio descriptive services, stunt coordination and related services, singing, voice acting, theatrical trailers, TV trailers (promos) and ADR/looping, such as primary off-camera work.
  • Background work.
  • Stand-in work.
  • Photo and/or body look-alikes.
  • Fittings, wardrobe trials, and makeup trials.
  • Practice sessions and camera trials.
  • Scanning.
  • Interviews and auditions (including through self-recording).
  • Promotion services work under contracts for theatrical and TV appearances, including media showcases, social media appearances, podcast interviews, junket shows, award screenings, premieres, panels, events, festivals, expos, fan conventions, and personal tours.
  • The development and utilization of electronic duplicates, comprising the recycling of previous content, any fresh arrangement linked to the promotion of a supported undertaking, bargaining and/or participating in and/or approving: a contract to provide supported services at a later date.
  • Performing on a truck for a hit production or other related content associated with a hit production.
  • In addition, members of SAG-AFTRA must instruct their lawyers, agents, or other representatives to cease negotiations while the strike is ongoing.

    SAG-AFTRA’s guidelines also served as a reminder to its members that they are obligated by Global Rule One, which declares that:.

    In any geographical area where a SAG-AFTRA national collective bargaining agreement is in effect, no member is allowed to provide any services or enter into an agreement to provide services for any employer who has not signed a basic minimum agreement with the union, which is fully valid and enforceable. This provision is applicable globally.

    Exceptions to striking.Output: Exemptions to striking.

    Employment by SAG-AFTRA individuals is authorized in the subsequent situations:

    1) Productions that are not affiliated with any specific organization.

    SAG-AFTRA may grant exceptions on a temporary basis for independent productions that negotiate terms on an individual basis. Producers or distributors affiliated with the AMPTP who join the production after it has started must genuinely be independent for any such productions.

    When reaching a contract agreement with the AMPTP, independent productions must agree to be retroactively bound by the terms they have included in their negotiations, which should also include wage increases and not be based on the previous terms of their interim agreements with SAG-AFTRA.

    2) Work included in unaffected SAG-AFTRA agreements.

    Employment is allowed if it is encompassed by the conditions of other SAG-AFTRA agreements, which may include (but are not restricted to):.

  • The Network Television Code encompasses: News programs, discussion programs, and morning programs.
  • Soap operas.
  • Diverse programming (including reality shows and game shows).
  • Sports programs.
  • On-camera commercials produced by the Union cannot have promotional content for programs that are under a SAG-AFTRA agreement.
  • Union voice-over/off camera advertisements.
  • Union industrials.
  • Corporate education union.
  • Union audiobooks.
  • Student films approved by the union.
  • 3) Specific voiceover assignments.

    Members of the SAG-AFTRA union cannot move forward with projects without the approval of the national board. However, they may be allowed to negotiate voiceover work for animated projects, as well as dubbing and video games, on a case-by-case basis. Those who are involved in or leading such projects are encouraged to discuss their work with the leadership of SAG-AFTRA before continuing.

    4) Tasks included in the Equity UK Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    On Thursday, July 13, UK Equity, the guild representing actors in the UK, released a joint statement with SAG-AFTRA, expressing their support for all members to continue working under the current collective bargaining agreement. This agreement is in accordance with the existing laws of the UK and SAG-AFTRA, ensuring that all members can work lawfully and with the support of their union.

    According to the instructions given by Equity, “in accordance with the legislation in the United Kingdom, SAG-AFTRA is not allowed to take any measures against [SAG-AFTRA members] for their choice to continue working.”

    Going forward.

    Discover more about the consequences of these regulations and exemptions by reaching out to any of the writers.