Hey Performers! - Are you Taking Full Advantage of SAG-AFTRA?

Here at 4EntertainmentJobs.com, we typically focus on articles and advice to help you land your dream job in the entertainment industry.  We decided to depart from that theme in this article and provide some helpful advice for after you land that performance job.

In 2012, members of both the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) voted to merge the two unions, combining to represent over 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcasters journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

Many join the union because they’ve been conditioned that it’s “just part of the process” for launching a performing career.  But are you taking full advantage of the member services SAG-AFTRA offers?  Over the years, the union has negotiated a comprehensive set of performer support services ranging from insurance, to contract negotiation to legal support.  We wanted to highlight a few of the most useful services for its members.

SAG-AFTRA still provides its core protection of “no contract / no work” for membership to ensure Producers adhere to the collective bargaining agreement terms.  Downloadable contract documents are available for all kinds of entertainment jobs on the SAG-AFTRA website.  The organization also accepts violation claims from its members online and investigates cases on behalf of its membership.  So, members are assured a sizeable advocate whenever disputes arise.

Health care and insurance has become the preeminent issue facing the United States political machine.  SAG-AFTRA offers health coverage to members under the collective bargaining agreement that specifies premium contributions will be made by the Producer on your behalf when you are working. A self-pay option is also available should you lose eligibility for the Producer-paid contribution.  Given the rising costs of health care, especially under the Affordable Care Act, this benefit can be a huge benefit for SAG-AFTRA members.

Another perennial function of SAG-AFTRA is the securing of residuals for its membership.  Since their founding, SAG and AFTRA have both used labor strikes successfully to gain residual payment rights for its members covering rebroadcast of recorded performances.  Through various negotiations and collective bargains, SAG-AFTRA members can enjoy recurring revenue from reruns and commercial airings of work to which they have contributed.  These contracts include several supplemental markets such as pay-per-view and recorded media (e.g. CD / DVD sales), so check with your SAG-AFTRA representatives if you believe you may be eligible for residual income you have not received.

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