Actor Unions 

By Webmaster

  • Actor Unions 

    Here are some basic facts about the main actor unions inside the United States

    (by Javier Guerra)


    Do you know why SAG merged with AFTRA? Do you know why Actors’ Equity Association was created? Do you know how labor unions benefit actors? Do you know how to join an actor union?

  • Here are some basic facts about the main actor unions inside the United States that you might not know:

    What do the acronyms mean? 

    Inside the United States there are two main unions for actors: SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.

    SAG
    SAG stands for the Screen Actors Guild

    AFTRA
    AFTRA stands for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

    AEA
    AEA stands for the Actors’ Equity Association

    Outside the United States, there are other powerful actor unions, including:

    ACTRA
    The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists

    CAEA
    Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

    BAEA
    British Actors’ Equity Association, now known simply as Equity.

  • Why did the actor unions form? 

    Unions, in general, are formed by a coalition of workers to negotiate the terms of a range of issues affecting those workers, including working conditions, pay and benefits. Actor unions are no different. However, each union formed to address the needs of particular segments of the entertainment business.

    Actors’ Equity Association
    Actors’ Equity Association is the oldest major actors’ union in the United States. It was founded in 1913, working on behalf of stage actors and managers.

    SAG
    Screen Actors Guild formed in 1933 to protect and defend actors from what was perceived as exploitation by major studios in Hollywood.

    AFTRA
    The union that eventually became known as AFTRA was formed in 1937, after supplanting the Radio Equity and Radio Actors Guild to become the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA), and then merging with the Television Authority in 1952.

  • Why did SAG merge with AFTRA? 

    On March 30, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) merged. The merger was formed, in part, as a way to ease the conflict and confusion for actors who, for example, might have qualified for benefits under one union but not the other.

    It also removed the need for the two unions to make adversarial decisions against one another. The merger of the two unions created the largest actors’ union in the US.

    How many members are in each union? 

    SAG-AFTRA now boasts a total membership of over 160,000 members, which includes actors, broadcast journalists, dancers and voice-over artists.

    Actors’ Equity Association boasts a total membership of over 51,000 stage actors and managers.

  • How do you join SAG-AFTRA? 

    1.  Actors can join by working as a principal performer in a project that is covered under a SAG-AFTRA agreement.

    2. Actors may join SAG-AFTRA if they secured employment with affiliated unions, such as AEA.

    3.  Actors who work as background actors (extras) may join by working at least three days on a union contract in a project that is covered by SAG-AFTRA.

    How do you join AEA? 

    1.  Actors may join by working on a project that is covered under an Equity contract.

    2. Actors can use theatrical work as credit towards joining the union under the Equity Membership Candidate Program (EMC), by working a minimum of 25 weeks in participating theatres.

    3. Actors can buy their way in if they are members of an affiliated union, such as SAG-AFTRA, provided they have worked as principals, are in good standing with the affiliated union, and have been members of the affiliated union for at least one year.

  • What are some benefits to joining an actors’ union? 

    Actor unions work on behalf of actors to address a host of different issues, including:

    1.  Negotiated pay rates

    2. Ensuring proper lunch breaks and overtime pay

    3. Ensuring safe work environments

    4. Health, pension and 401K benefits

    5. Dispute resolution

    6. Work and educational opportunities


  • You Might Also Like:
    5 Basic Facts About Uta Hagen


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020 Here’s a partial list of some of the actors we will miss (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo source: Jamie Street/Unsplash) No doubt, 2020 was a rough…

    What is a Must-Join? 

    What is a Must-Join?  Let’s explore this SAG-AFTRA status… (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Eunice Lituanas | Unsplash) A “Must-Join” is the label placed on actors who have surpassed the grace period (usually 30…

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process” 

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process”  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips, excerpts from an interview with Bafta Guru) (Bill Nighy) “I’m old enough to say that I’ve never knowingly been in character…

    Create Your Own Opportunities!

    Create Your Own Opportunities!  What’s your excuse for not producing your own projects and casting yourself?  (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The advent of things like social media and the internet allows…

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.”

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.” Viola Davis describes her character-building and collaboration process (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Viola Davis) “I read the script over and over and over again….

  • Ad

  • Do You Have an Acting Mentor? 

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor?  How having a mentor can help you save time, money and your sanity (by Jim Webb) (Photo: neONBRAND/unsplash) You already know that taking acting classes can help…

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors  There are lucrative opportunities for those fortunate enough to find them  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)  (Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash) There has been lots of bad news for…

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials 

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials  Commercial actors can benefit from understanding the distinctions (by Javier Guerra) A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. They’re all the same, right? Except, they are…

  • Ad

  • Ed Harris: “Acting is a lifelong situation.” 

    Ed Harris:  “Acting is a lifelong situation.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed Harris in Westworld) “Acting is a lifelong situation…’til you drop dead.” Ed Harris is one of the most successful character actors…

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!  The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance (by Todd Bruce) (Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash) Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you…

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell!

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell! Sometimes casting directors ask for far too much! (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash) Forgive me for saying this, but this self-taping thing has gone too far!…

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass There simply has never been a better time to be an actor (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Roy Alanwar/Unsplash) Aren’t you glad to be…

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less Quick! Sell your acting career in 10 seconds or less! (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: August de Richelieu/Unsplash) Quick! Sell your acting career in 10…

  • Ad

  • What is a Right-to-Work State?

    What is a Right-to-Work State?  There are currently 27 Right-to-Work states in the United States (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Joey Csunyo/Unsplash) A right-to-work state is a state that forbids union security agreements. That…

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up  Confusing, isn’t it? (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) As if the acting business was not perplexing enough, there’s always something else to confuse the…

    Edie Falco: “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”

    Edie Falco:  “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie) “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”…

  • Ad

  • The Virtual Audition Waiting Room

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room “It’s now your turn to audition, please enter Studio B.” (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash) The global pandemic has forced us all to reevaluate the way…

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life!

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life! But here’s to hoping things get back to normal (by The Anonymous Actor)  (Photo: Cristian Newman/Unsplash) My Last Normal Day…  I can’t remember the exact date. To…

    The Actor’s Job Description

    The Actor’s Job Description  Help wanted. Apply now! (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yogendra Singh/Unsplash) Help wanted: ACTORS Employer: The Entertainment Industry Salary: $52,000 annually, on average Bonuses: Possibly Millions Benefits: Health and Retirement…

    The Power of Positive Thinking

    The Power of Positive Thinking  Pledge to never allow another negative thought to enter your mind (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Dingzeyu Li/Unsplash) Isn’t it amazing how much our brains can influence us with…

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines  Going past deadlines may not get you shot, but they can certainly kill opportunities (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash) Once upon a time, prisons didn’t have high walls with…

  • Ad

  • Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different

    Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different Always keep this rule in mind (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Rene Ranisch/Unsplash) Here’s an easy way to know whether you are truly acting…

    Actor Stories: Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!

    Actor Stories:  Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!  He left behind an incredible legacy, and an unbelievable actor story (by Carmichael Phillips) (Michael Clarke…

    Get to Know Zoom

    Get to Know Zoom Zoom auditions offer the acting world a lifeline during this ongoing, global pandemic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Visuals/Unsplash) You ever get a song stuck in your head that you…

  • Ad

  • Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”

    Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.” (arranged by AM Staff) (Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station) “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”…

    The Latino Actor: An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion

    The Latino Actor:  An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Craig Adderley/Pexels) Of all the underrepresented minority groups in Hollywood, the Hispanic and Latino actor probably faces the steepest…

    The Knock-at-the-Door Exercise

    The Knock-at-the-Door Exercise Its main purpose is to introduce actors to “imaginary circumstances” (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Adrienn/Pexels) The Knock-at-the-Door Exercise is an acting exercise, where one actor engages in a serious, consequential…

    Actor Stories: How Aaron Paul Got His Big Break 

    Actor Stories: How Aaron Paul Got His Big Break  Ten years of darkness before the light finally broke through (by Carmichael Phillips) (Aaron Paul in El Camino) Jesse Pinkman is not his actual…

    The Mirror is Not Your Friend

    The Mirror is Not Your Friend Why you should never rehearse in front of your mirror (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Phinehas Adams/Unsplash) Do you rehearse your lines in front of a mirror? Do…

    5 Essential Budgeting Tips for Actors

    5 Essential Budgeting Tips for Actors Budgeting is a crucial skill in the actor’s life (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Michael Longmire/Unsplash) All you need to do is look at your last W2, the…

    Actor Stories: How Chadwick Boseman Almost Gave Up on Acting Before He Became a Legend 

    Actor Stories:  How Chadwick Boseman Almost Gave Up on Acting Before, He Became a Legend  Nothing, not even cancer, can kill a legend (by Carmichael Phillips) (Chadwick Boseman in Marshall, 2017) Age 43…

    RIP to Chadwick Boseman

    RIP to Chadwick Boseman A fantastic actor, taken much too soon (by Carmichael Phillips) (Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther) The world continues to mourn the loss of Chadwick Boseman, the talented young actor…

    Load More