In an act of solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) will no longer grant permission to independent projects that fall under WGA contracts to continue production during the ongoing strike. On July 14th SAG-AFTRA announced via a statement on its website that going forward, WGA-covered projects will now be excluded from its Interim Agreement policy — which allows approved independent productions with no direct connection to the actors union to continue filming.
According to the statement, the decision was made following several meetings with the WGA alongside the “recommendation of our NED & chief negotiator” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “We have been advised by the WGA that this modification will assist them in executing their strike strategy, and we believe it does not undermine the utility and effectiveness of ours,” said the guild. “It is a win-win change.”
“Our staff will continue to investigate each application for an Interim Agreement to ensure only true independent productions are included”
“This means that, going forward, for productions taking place in the USA, SAG-AFTRA will only grant Interim Agreements for non-WGA-covered projects,” continues the SAG-AFTRA statement. “And our staff will continue to investigate each application for an Interim Agreement to ensure only true independent productions are included.”
Over 200 movies and TV series (PDF) have been granted permission to continue filming under interim agreements since the strike began on July 14th. Following criticism about the high number of projects being approved, SAG-AFTRA explained that the interim contracts don’t conflict with the strike because these productions already adhere to the labor terms the union is pushing for, and aren’t directly associated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Approved contracts will remain in effect, and according to Deadline, only 15-20 percent of independent feature films covered by SAG-AFTRA also are covered by the WGA.
“We created the Interim Agreements for several reasons, all of which are aimed at protecting the interests of our members and members of sister unions, so that journeymen performers and crew may continue to work and pay their bills while demonstrating to the AMPTP that independent producers are eager to work with our members under these terms,” the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee said in its statement. “The strike action is evolving each day. We are adapting in real time to continue protecting our members while collaborating with our sister unions in fighting for our common cause.”
(Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.)