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Commercial - SAG Talent - Non-Union Crew?

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John Takacs
Commercial - SAG Talent - Non-Union Crew?
on Aug 5, 2014 at 5:53:09 pm

Hey All,

QUESTION - If we are using SAG talent for a commercial production, does the rest of the production have to go union (IATSE) as well?

I do not have much experience with union productions or guidelines (I have read up a bit, but no actual experience). We have an opportunity to gain a new client, but the client has identified specific talent that is SAG. The agency would serve as the signator for talent.

My concern is that I have heard of instances where the union shows up day of the shoot and insists other members of the production go union as well or forces existing members to walk off. I don't anticipate having any union members on the crew, but could this still be an issue? In this case, could they insist talent walk off?

The production is small and the director is non-union. I want to make sure I know what we might be getting into before committing.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.


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Bill Davis
Re: Commercial - SAG Talent - Non-Union Crew?
on Aug 6, 2014 at 6:08:41 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Aug 6, 2014 at 6:10:15 pm

Generally no.

There's a federal statute in place (Taft Hartley Act) from back in 1947 that says that you can't exclude a theatrical performer from employment simply for not being a member of a union.

And there are "right to work" states, with even broader specific prohibitions against requiring union affiliation.

That's general law, however, and there are often other factors in play.

Foe example, if the producer has a union contract and is running a union set - then there's some paperwork needed to "exempt" the performer.

But that's been the traditional process throughout my career. Someone with more current union info can probably better speak to this.

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