USAN ON ORGANIZING
VICTORIES & INITIATIVES
Organizing is a key pillar of SAG-AFTRA’s purpose as our union. Continuing our successful organizing efforts under the leadership of USAN, Unite for Strength and member leaders from around the country, we are developing new work opportunities for our members, and bringing the professional pool of media artists into the union tent.
Grassroots organizing is still the key. Just as we organized audiobooks from completely non-jurisdictional work to nearly 100% covered work, we identify key performers, then create a community of both union members and those who have not yet joined who do the work, addressing common challenges and needs with common action.
In Spanish Language media, SAG-AFTRA successfully organized Telemundo, the first network organized in fifty years. We will continue to fight for the rights of our Spanish speaking members.
With the expanding popularity of international projects in streaming, English dubbing is busier than ever. We see dramatic growth in the number of union dubs. Performers and casting directors have advocated for unionizing projects, and with the advent of streaming international titles, the possibilities for work are exciting. The new Dubbing Committee formed this past year updated our promulgated Dubbing Agreement, approved by the National Board.
Having set the stage with improved dubbing terms in the Netflix Agreement, this new agreement sets vastly higher rates and other improvements for dubbing artists, while still being designed to capture more signatories.
The success of our Interactive Strike led to great improvements for our Voice Over performers and Performance Capture Artists, both in compensation and working conditions. The strike was the longest strike in union history, but because of a multi-pronged strategy including the use of promulgated agreements, performers were able to continue working and ultimately prevail.
As we seek to increase Background coverage, we are reaching out to those areas outside of our zones where there is significant employment, as in New Mexico for example. Where there is reluctance in the community of actors to create a zone, we have started to organize at least a first step, encouraging grassroots communication, working with existing affinity groups, and developing a Background Bill of Rights for those who do the work. We want all performers, regardless of their union status to have good working conditions. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Public media has been an important focus over the last several years, and SAG-AFTRA has made tremendous progress organizing new broadcast shops across the country. Even during the pandemic, new broadcast members joined our union. 2013 KPCC & WBEZ 2014 KQED & KPBS 2016 MPR News & SBS LA 2018 KUOW, WNYC/NYPR, Al Jazeera English, & SBS Chicago 2019 WBUR, WHYY, KCRW 2020 WBGO, WAMU, Current & Classical MPR, KDKA Producers We have more organizing efforts currently making headway.
Our momentum is exciting. The Influencer space has grown by leaps and bounds, and as influencers begin to look for better compensation, they have turned to SAG-AFTRA. Meanwhile many of our members have wanted to capitalize on this new work by making it union. So now with our new Influencer Agreement, we capture the work for our members as well as bringing successful influencers into our ranks. It’s a win/win.
Our new Microbudget Agreement and Small Project Agreement (SPA) have brought previously non-union projects under our covered work, which introduce new filmmakers to working with the union and allow our member content creators to stay under union jurisdiction. Again, another win/win.
We will continue to seek new job opportunities for our members and bring all working artists into our union family.