SAG-AFTRA’s pledge to increase efforts in enforcing the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract and the Radio Recorded Commercials Contract was on full display with its latest Member Alert to organize Droga5, a non-signatory ad agency. Indeed, the October 12, 2015 alert to union membership was a true call to action: “Now is the time for action. . .SAG-AFTRA will not stand by while agencies undermine wages and benefits while profiting off of professional talent.” With a new round of union negotiations quickly approaching, it is no surprise that SAG-AFTRA has ramped up its scrutiny of non-signatories who attempt to produce non-union commercials or to employ union performers through a third-party “shell company” to produce their union spots. This, the union claims, is just one of many steps in its campaign to combat similar misconduct.
The union’s willingness to amplify its enforcement efforts is arguably rooted in recent changes to the relevant legal landscape. Aside from risking heightened scrutiny as a non-signatory, a current signatory considering withdrawal from the Joint Policy Committee must also consider the legal ramifications of so doing in light of recent federal and National Labor Relations Board precedents. At base, withdrawing from the JPC could result in obligations that persist beyond such withdrawal as well as future liability flowing from working as a non-signatory joint-employer alongside a signatory employing union talent.
With this bulletin is a memorandum addressing the foregoing in greater detail. The memorandum is a must-read for all industry stakeholders.