7 Basic Facts about Actor Labor Unions

By Webmaster

  •  

    7 Basic Facts about Actor Labor Unions

    (By AM Staff)

    Do you know why SAG merged with AFTRA? Do you know why Actor’s Equity Association was created? Do you know how unions benefit actors?

    In honor of Labor Day, here are a few quick facts about the main actor labor unions in the United States that you may not know:

    What do the acronyms mean?

    *SAG stands for the Screen Actors Guild
    *AFTRA stands for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
    *AEA stands for the Actor’s Equity Association

    Why did they form?
    *AEA is the oldest major actor’s labor union in the United States. It was founded in 1913, working on behalf of stage actors and managers.
    *SAG formed in 1933 to protect and defend actors from what they perceived as exploitation by major studios in Hollywood
    *The Union now known as AFTRA was formed in 1937, after supplanting Radio Equity and Radio Actors Guild and then merging with the Television Authority in 1952.

    Why did SAG merge with AFTRA?
    On March 30, 2012 the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged 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 in each union?
    *SAG-AFTRA boasts a total membership of 160,000 members, which includes actors, broadcast journalists, dancers and voice-over artists.
    *Equity boasts a total membership of 51,000 stage actors and managers.

    How do you join SAG-AFTRA?
    1. Actors can join by working as a principal in a project that is covered under SAG-AFTRA.
    2. 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.
    3. Actors may also join if they are paid-up members of affiliated unions, such as AEA, and have worked and been paid as a principal on a project under the jurisdiction of that union.

    How do you join AEA?
    1. Actors may join by working under an Equity contract.
    2. Actors can earn enough points – 50 are needed – and join the union under the Equity Candidate Membership Program, by working in participating theaters.
    3. Actors can buy their way in by becoming members of an affiliated union, such as SAG-AFTRA.

    What are some benefits to joining an actor union?
    Benefits includes things like:
    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

    For more information, check out:

    Actor’s Equity
    SAG-AFTRA

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill)

    “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill) (Arranged by AM staff) Actor Mark Hamill has a face most Star Wars fans would instantly recognize, even though he does some of his…

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect.

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect. 5 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Fear of the Dreaded Redirect (By Jim Webb) Human beings didn’t always dominate the Earth. Once upon a time,…

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting ‘It felt like a waste of time to keep doing this over and over again’ (by Carmichael Phillips) Ok, fine! Rashida Jones’ entertainment…

    “Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale)

    “Go for new tricks. Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale) (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) In an interview with the Oral History of Hollywood, actor Christian Bale had an interesting take on the…

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors Here are some great New Year’s resolutions you should strive for, if you haven’t already (by James Webb) We are a few weeks into the new…

  • Ad

  • 10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked There are countless potential reasons why you didn’t book the role you thought surely you were going to book. Let’s just start…

    “Listen and React” (Michael Caine)

    Michael Caine’s Greatest Advice to Film Actors: Listen and React “Listening is really what acting is all about, for movies. It’s not like the theatre. It’s an entirely different situation.” “When I was…

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”?

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”? There are several objectives that the Repetition Exercise seeks to achieve. Chief among these is to increase the actor’s reliance on their instincts. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) The “Repetition…

  • Ad

  • “Education is so essential” (Jake Gyllenhaal)

    Education is Essential “Education is so essential, because there’s no way of knowing what good material is, or knowing if a story is original, or knowing what makes a story original, or know…

    5 Basic Facts about Sanford Meisner

    5 Basic Facts about Sanford Meisner Though he died in 1997, his work continues to live on… (by Carmichael Phillips) Sanford Meisner (August 31, 1905 – February 2, 1997) had a profound impact…

    That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It!

    That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It! Don’t try this at home, kids! (The Anonymous Actor) Don’t try this at home, kids. This maneuver is only for the…

    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?” (Don Cheadle)

    Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity? “I think a lot of times people think that you have to have a job…

    Before You Blame Your Agent….

    Before You Blame Your Agent…. Because, it’s not always your agent’s fault (By Jim Webb) You’re not getting enough auditions. Your friends are auditioning like crazy, while you rarely get any. The knee-jerk…

  • Ad

  • “To be an interesting actor, you must be authentic” (Sanford Meisner)

    “To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and…

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot Remember, the goal of a headshot is not just to produce a pretty looking headshot (by Jim Webb) Before you go out and…

    The Callback Checklist

    The Callback Checklist Check these items off your list before you go in for your next callback (by Carmichael Phillips) Are you ready for your next callback? Check these items off your list…

  • Ad

  • Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important

    Why Building Relationships with Casting Directors is So Important One of the best ways to improve your odds is to emphasize relationship-building as a core part of your strategy for success (by Carmichael…

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” (Joe Manganiello)

    “You can’t rely on anyone to hand you anything in this business. Ever! So, just be creative.” “So many times I meet people who [ask me], you know, ‘do you have any advice…

    What is the “Private Moment Exercise”?

    What is the “Private Moment Exercise”? The concentration that it takes to have a private moment in public, empowers the actor to bring a higher level of concentration to a character (by Tonya…

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II

    Funny Feel-Facts, Part II (by Carmichael Phillips) Here are 5 more feel-facts about acting I’ve uncovered. Part 1 of my Feel-Facts series brought some laughs and inflamed some tensions, so I thought I’d…

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films

    3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Do Student Films Yep. Sometimes they really do suck! (by Carmichael Phillips) Alright. Let’s light this candle! We’ve already given you the lowdown on how student films…

  • Ad

  • “No amount of failure…can dissuade a determined actor.” (Susan Saint James)

    “Through my own experiences and achievements, I have found that no amount of encouragement, help, or advice can make an unmotivated person a star, while at the same time, no amount of failure,…

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business

    Set Aside One Day Each Week for Your Acting Business How setting aside an entire day can improve your acting business (by Jim Webb) The #actorslife is a hectic one. Between your survival…

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure

    How to Turn Your Audition Trash into Audition Treasure What if you used every bad audition as a kind of audition technique class? (by Carmichael Phillips) Let’s say, your recent audition was an…

  • Ad

  • What is “Type”?

    What is “Type”? You have to know exactly what you’re selling in order to consistently make the sale (by Tonya Tannenbaum) An actor’s “type” generally refers to the category or categories that the…

    “The actor must constantly respond to stimuli that are imaginary.” (Lee Strasberg)

    “The human being who acts is the human being who lives. That is a terrifying circumstance. Essentially, the actor acts a fiction, a dream; in life, the stimuli to which we respond are…

    Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role

    Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role Always act in truth. (By Jim Webb) You are behind on your bills. You’re facing money shortages. You’re not entirely sure how you’ll…

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films There are many actors who can cite chapter and verse their negative experiences doing student films. They can be a bit of a mixed bag. But…

    “If you want to be an actor…that has nothing to do with Hollywood.” (William H. Macy)

    “It’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want to be somebody, or to want to be a star, or to get recognition. If you want to be an…

    What is a “Student Film”?

    What is a “Student Film”? It is the making of the film itself, rather than the content of the film, that usually provides the educational value (by Tonya Tannenbaum) A “student film”, as…

    “This is a business of rejection.” (Bill Duke)

    “There’s a difference between waiting to be discovered by someone and discovering yourself. Waiting to be discovered and discovering yourself is a different consciousness.” (Bill Duke) Duke went on to explain: “This is…

    3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly

    3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly The speediness of the audition may have nothing at all to do with the actor’s performance in the audition room (by Jim Webb) That sinking feeling you…