Film production unions are organizations that advocate for the rights of workers in the film industry, as well as setting working standards and procedures.
These unions exist to help ensure that people working in film receive fair compensation and treatment while on the job.
There are different unions depending on the worker’s specific job and union membership is typically required to perform many aspects of a film production.
A film production union is a group of film industry professionals who have banded together to advocate for themselves.
Their areas of concern include fair wages, health benefits, safety on the job, and other issues.
The two main unions representing film workers are IATSE and DGA (the Directors Guild of America).
Working With Unions
What Are Film Production Unions?
Film production unions are groups of workers who work together on a set to help with production.
They are typically made up of many different employees, including actors, camera operators, electricians and more.
These unions are responsible for ensuring that the production goes smoothly, protecting the rights of the cast and crew, and making sure that everyone stays safe while they’re working.
Tasks performed by film production unions include:
- negotiating contracts,
- assisting with membership and organizing new members,
- providing training programs to prepare members for their jobs, and
- helping to resolve disputes between employers and employees.
Film production unions also provide a sense of community among people who work in similar fields. They allow people to meet others who have similar career goals and interests so they can share ideas and keep up with what’s going on in the industry.
Film production unions also provide a sense of security for those involved in film production.
Aspiring actors can get access to casting notices that could lead to jobs or auditions, while crew members have access to the latest news about upcoming projects so they can secure employment as soon as possible.
Film production unions also provide training programs that ensure all workers receive adequate education about their jobs so they know how best to perform them safely.
What Does Working With Unions Mean?
A film production union is an organization of workers in the motion picture industry that aims to protect the interests of its members by negotiating wages, hours and working conditions.
Film unions represent various aspects of the filmmaking process. These include actors, directors, crew, production staff and musicians.
Many unions are affiliated with a larger organization such as the AFL-CIO.
The makeup of each union differs according to a number of factors including type of work, location and how long the union has been in existence.
For example, the Screen Actors Guild was founded in 1933 and represents more than 160,000 actors in both television and film.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is based in the United States but also has members from Canada and Australia who perform a variety of jobs both on set and behind the scenes.
Unions have been around since the 19th century when workers banded together to improve their working conditions and wages. They also provided security for workers whose jobs were often dangerous.
Some unions have become well-known for their involvement in Hollywood’s history such as SAG (Screen Actors Guild) which helped end Hollywood’s studio system where actors were under contract to particular studios and had little control over their careers.
Working With Union Reps
Working with union representatives on a workplace grievance can be one of the most satisfying parts of being a leader. However, it’s also one of the most difficult to get right.
They have an obligation to report what you say to other members of their union and that can create problems for you if your message is not in accordance with what you’ve already said or written down previously.
Before you schedule the meeting, make sure you know the names of the reps and have a list of issues to discuss.
Be specific as possible about what happened and why you are dissatisfied with the outcome, but never speak ill about anyone else in your department, including supervisors or other workers.
Avoid speaking badly about another person even if that person has treated you unfairly; let your disappointment be known without making personal attacks. Do bring any documents related to your complaint (such as an email chain or meeting minutes).
Make copies of all these materials beforehand, because once the meeting begins, your time will be limited if others are waiting for their chance to talk. Start by explaining how you were treated and proceed chronologically, telling what happened at each stage.
Don’t assume that everyone will understand how HR works. Working with union reps can be a great way to ensure that you’re getting benefits that are fairly standard in your industry.
Understanding the various union benefits will help you to know what to expect from unions and how to work with them. Treat your workers fairly.
If you treat your workers fairly, you’ll get better results from them. It’s not a huge shocker, but it bears repeating.
When people feel valued and respected, they’re more likely to stick around and work hard for you.
Not negotiating is negotiating. If you’re presented with a contract and do not negotiate terms, it’s still considered negotiation — you’ve simply negotiated on behalf of paying the most possible, rather than on your own behalf.
If you don’t negotiate the best deal for yourself when presented with something (like a contract), then you’re not really negotiating at all — even if someone else is doing the “negotiating” on your behalf. That’s not fair to you or to your workers.
Be honest about things like hours and wages in an open way so that everyone is informed going into any situation. This will help avoid issues down the road when someone feels taken advantage of or like they didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision in their best interest.
So, Your Film Production’s Getting Flipped — What Next?
So you’re in production on your little indie film and it looks like you might be getting “flipped,” huh? You’ve probably heard of the term “flipping” and wondered what it meant.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise. Essentially, a film will get flipped if a distributor likes the film they see a trailer for and wants to acquire it.
That means they purchase the rights from the producer and pay money to distribute the film themselves. Typically, this is done after the film has finished shooting and has wrapped principle photography (the last day of shooting with the principle cast).
Not every film gets flipped—some are sold outright to distributors who want to release them theatrically or via some other channel when they are completed. And still others never get picked up at all!
No matter which way your film is sold, the process can be a little tricky—especially if you don’t have experience doing it before. But don’t fret!
Here are some tips to help ease the process:
Make sure you have an attorney. You should have one in place before you begin production on your film.
Your attorney will be able to Contractually, the only way your film production can get “flipped” is if you agreed to it in your deal memo. If you didn’t, then getting flipped isn’t a possibility. However, there is a gray area here where things are not so clear-cut. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some questions you should ask yourself and the other party:
What happens if I don’t like the final product?
Selling the rights to your film is often a necessary step in order to get it made, but it’s also a vital part of any successful career as a filmmaker.
Sometimes, we’re lucky enough that the rights are sold before we go into production — giving us the confidence to start shooting knowing that there will be money to finish.
But more often than not, you need to be prepared to make your film and then find someone who will pay for the privilege of releasing it to the public.
Why do filmmakers sell the rights?
The reasons a filmmaker might sell the rights to their project are many and varied. Some have little choice – they either need the money to fund their film, or they don’t have another way of getting it into production.
Others may simply be trying to break into an industry where audiences prefer familiar faces, or they want to reboot an existing franchise. But whatever reason you may have for making this decision, it’s essential that you go into any deal with your eyes open, and know exactly what you’re getting into.
What Are Movie Union Grievances?
The United States Department of Labor defines a union grievance as any dispute between an employee and their employer or union president. Grievances are usually filed when the employee feels they have been wronged in some way, such as being disciplined illegally or being denied a promotion they are entitled to receive.
Treating employees fairly is important because it ensures the company retains its best talent, reduces turnover and keeps the labor cost low. When employees feel slighted, however, they can file a grievance with their employer or union representative.
Grievances are filed with the labor union that represents the employee’s position at the company. When a grievance is filed with the local branch or local chapter of a union, it is referred to as a local grievance .
If it is filed through the international branch of a labor union, it is known as an international grievance .
Movie Union Grievances & Federal Laws
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees from certain actions by their employers and unions. The NLRA gives all workers in the private sector the right to join together in labor organizations to negotiate for better working conditions.
It also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who choose to engage in union activities such as filing grievances.
What Are Movie Union Grievances?
Movie union grievances are documents that members of the Screen Actors Guild or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists fill out to protest working conditions. These grievances, which can be filed with a producer, studio or anyone else involved in making a film, are one of the most serious steps in a union member’s repertoire because they potentially can result in termination of employment.
If you’re a member of a movie union and need to file a grievance, here are some of the things you might be able to complain about:
1. If you feel that you’ve been wrongly denied membership in the union.
2. If you think your union dues are too high.
3. If you feel that the union has breached its duty of fair representation. For example, if the guild doesn’t represent your interests fairly (such as taking on jobs that pay less than what they should).
4. If you believe that your agent has committed fraud in your dealings with him or her.
5. If you believe that someone else’s behavior has violated your civil rights. A key point to remember is that these grievances can only address issues related to the guild’s activities — for example, an agent’s fee structure wouldn’t be something the guild would handle.
6. If it’s not related to the union, it’s best to take it up with another organization — such as a state attorney general or a local consumer-protection agency. Movie workers are protected by the unions.
Every movie worker is a member of a union, even if he or she doesn’t realize it. Movie unions negotiate contracts with producers and studios that dictate everything from wages and working conditions to health care benefits and pension plans.
Actors are represented by SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA is an acronym for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The organization was formed in 2012 when SAG and AFTRA merged.
It’s open to performers and professionals in all areas of entertainment, including film, television, commercials, animation, music recordings, video games, news media and other areas where the arts are employed.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was founded on March 16, 1933 to address issues facing performers in the early days of sound films. Its first President was Douglas Fairbanks Sr., considered one of the founding fathers of Hollywood.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) began in 1941 as an offshoot of SAG as well as Actors Equity Association (AEA), which was founded in 1913 by actors who felt they were not being treated fairly by producers.
AFTRA became an autonomous union in 1950 when it was Movie unions are a group of film professionals who belong to a union. The unions are made up of actors, directors, producers and other people involved in the film industry.
There are two major movie unions: the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). If you’re interested in acting in a movie, you’ll need to join one of these unions.
However, joining a union isn’t as easy as filling out an application form. You need to read a few union rules and regulations before you commit.
In this article, we’ll tell you what those rules and regulations involve so you can join a union without any problems.
The American Federation of Labor was formed in 1886, and it eventually became known as the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
The AFL-CIO is currently the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, and it represents a variety of different industries, including motion pictures.
The federation is made up of 56 member unions, and these unions represent workers in both blue-collar and white-collar professions. The main function of a union grievance procedure is to effectively resolve disagreements that arise between workers and their employers.
No two grievances are exactly alike; union members file grievances for a wide variety of reasons. Some common examples include:
1. Employees being fired without just cause.
2. Employees being subjected to unsafe working conditions.
3. Employees not receiving proper wages or compensation.
4. Union members feeling they are treated unfairly by management.
Grievances can be filed at any time during employment; however, they are typically initiated during contract negotiations. They can also be filed during the term of a contract if issues arise.
Grievances can be filed by union members against the employer or individual managers within the workplace environment.
Grievances can also be filed by an employer against a union member or the entire union itself.
Movie Unions Struggle To Hold On
The unions, which long have been a powerful force in Hollywood, are fighting to stay relevant in an industry undergoing enormous change. The Writers Guild of America West has lost nearly half its membership over the past two decades as jobs have shifted to non-union productions made for the Internet, cable or overseas markets.
When the Screen Actors Guild struck in 2004 against 11 major film studios, it was quickly crippled by defections from many of its 120,000 members. It took five months for the sides to reach an agreement that included a new contract for Internet movies and TV shows.
The Directors Guild of America has seen better times but has been unable to stem losses from below-$1-million independent films to countries like Canada and New Zealand that offer tax incentives to filmmakers.
These days, it’s not unusual for a major studio release to have fewer than 100 SAG members in each of the three contracts that cover principal actors, extras and stunt performers. That’s less than 2% of union members covered by these contracts.
“We’re not where we were 10 years ago,” said SAG spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt.”We’re not where we need to be.” Excerpt from: By MICHAEL CIEPLY / NEW YORK TIMES
In the last few years, Hollywood has seen the end of a long and celebrated era. The Writers Guild of America is on strike; the Directors Guild of America faces its first challenge in more than 40 years; and many actors’ unions are fighting for their very existence.
As recently as five years ago, it seemed that the big studios, with their armies of lawyers and accountants, might be losing their ability to compete with the fast-moving digital world that was spawning new networks, Web sites and other players.
But they have adapted to economic pressures by becoming more efficient and scrappy. And they have thrived by producing fewer films that are big hits but also big money losers.
In contrast, the unions have failed to adapt to changes in the industry or to prevent changes from happening.
They continue to see their members’ jobs as having life tenure — until someone else comes along to take them away — rather than as jobs that are increasingly fragile.
The result is a clash between two industries that once seemed destined to be together forever: show business and labor.
It’s been a summer of discontent in Hollywood, and the man who made it so is named Mitch. With the studios locked in an all-out war with the talent guilds over runaway production, the face of Hollywood is changing — and not necessarily for the better.
The studios still have the power, but since the WGA strike last winter, they’ve lost control of their own destiny.
With no other way to get movies made on time and on budget, they’re turning to nonunion crews to shoot films that would have been done by guild members just a few years ago.
And nothing has changed in show business faster than labor relations. Over the past decade, we’ve seen SAG and AFTRA merge into one union (SAG-AFTRA), lose jurisdiction over primetime TV series to AEA and see SAG grant AFTRA jurisdiction over commercials.
Now we have a turf war between AMPTP and IATSE, which represents most film crew members, over whether feature films can use nonunion labor under certain circumstances.
The result could be that unionized workers are relegated to shooting reality TV while non-union crews work on scripted projects.
Movie Unions Increase Pay And Benefits For Workers
Movie unions have been around for well over a century. They began to form in the early 1900s as actors felt that they needed a collective bargaining unit to represent them.
Though they were not successful at that time, they continued to push for fair wages and working conditions.
Towards the end of the 1920s, the Screen Actors Guild was created. This was an important milestone because it represented all actors, men and women alike.
It has now become one of the largest and most powerful unions in the country.
There are many different movie unions that offer benefits and security to those who participate in them. These include SAG-AFTRA, Writers Guild of America West, Directors Guild of America, American Federation of Musicians and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
These organizations work together to collectively bargain contracts with producers, studios and other employers. These movie unions increase pay and benefits for workers through these contracts.
Movie actors can earn more money when they negotiate with producers during contract talks.
The unions also help to ensure that members have decent working conditions on set as well as good medical care if they need it or other benefits like unemployment insurance or retirement plans.
Movie and television workers have won significant protections over the years, but those gains are now under attack by those who would prefer to ship jobs overseas or do away with the unions altogether.
Tens of thousands of workers represented by IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters), and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) joined in an unprecedented show of solidarity to protect their hard-won middle class wages, health care and retirement benefits.
The solidarity rally was held in New Orleans on October 25, 2012. Representatives from the three unions spoke out against a series of bills pending in Congress that would hurt working families for generations to come.
Current federal laws require employers to pay each employee “fair wages” for their work.
- Employers can’t discriminate against employees based on race, sex, age, disability or marital status.
- Employers are also required to provide employees with safe working conditions and a safe place to work.
- Even employers with no unionized workplace must ensure that their employees are treated fairly and paid at least the federal minimum wage.
These laws only exist because workers, through their union representatives, fought for these rights over decades ago.
Movie stars are among the highest-paid celebrities in the world. Even those who are not superstars can make six or seven figures for a single film.
The average worker, on the other hand, makes between $40,000 and $50,000 a year. Movie stars, however, have unions to look out for them.
Copycat unions have been popping up throughout America to tend to the needs of workers everywhere. Although they are not typically as powerful as Hollywood unions, they do work hard to ensure that their members receive fair wages and benefits.
Here are some of the unions that exist today and how they go about protecting the rights of workers around the country. Hollywood studios are seeking ways to cut costs while still keeping their employees happy and productive.
The unions that represent the workers have a lot of leverage in these negotiations, but they don’t always use it. Talks with the two main Hollywood unions are usually held behind closed doors and don’t involve much public posturing.
This is because the unions have so much negotiating power that they don’t need to make threats publicly. In fact, if the negotiations fail, there’s no guarantee that the studios won’t move filming to Canada or another country.
The screen actors union (SAG) and the directors union (DGA) each represent about 50,000 members. The writers union (WGA) has about 9,000 members working in TV and film production.
These three unions negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents all of Hollywood’s studios.
These three unions have been significantly more successful than other labor organizations representing American workers in gaining wage increases, health care benefits and pension plans for their members.
Movie Unions Set Up Formal Processes For Disputes And Complaints
Movie unions have set up formal processes for disputes and complaints about working conditions on films—and the most common grievance is about paychecks.
Tensions over compensation are now so great that the Hollywood studios have taken steps to mitigate the threat of strikes and other disruptions during their most lucrative season, which starts this month.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade group representing major studios, has set up a hotline and email address for workers to air grievances.
“It is a new initiative by our labor-relations department,” said Rich Ross, president of the group, who announced the program at a meeting with reporters last week at his office overlooking Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
Mr. Ross said he could not recall any previous time when the producers’ group has sought to add such an employee-service program. The program is a response to increasing complaints from crew members over pay, particularly for low-paid workers on reality shows, according to Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, West.
He said he had been told by studio executives that WGA members were among those calling in complaints over pay issues. Screen Actors Guild officials say they have also seen an increase in calls about pay.”
With the rise of the Internet, moviegoers now have a wealth of information about movies and the filmmakers who make them at their fingertips. In light of that, unions are starting to establish more formal processes for handling complaints and disputes regarding working conditions on sets.
Actors’ Equity Association has recently adopted a new Code of Conduct specifically for film and television productions under its jurisdiction, including many in New York City.
“We codified what we had been doing informally,” said Mary McColl, an associate director at Equity who also sits on the committee. “It’s not a lot different from what we’ve done in the past; it’s just a formalization.”
Many of the provisions in the new code are similar to those in Equity’s existing rules governing Broadway shows.
For example, members have to be given at least one day off out of seven days worked and must be compensated if they are required to perform outside their normal jurisdiction (New York State for New York productions, for example).
The new code also includes some practices that extend beyond Broadway. For In an industry where actresses still struggle for equal pay and opportunities to shine, the three major movie unions have taken steps to formalize the process for addressing disputes.
The Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Writers Guild of America , East have established grievance procedures for members who believe their work has been unfairly treated in the production process. The boards of directors at each guild voted to approve the new policy this year.
The move comes after the Screen Actors Guild’s board of directors approved a similar grievance procedure in 2014.
Margaret Carter, director of strategic communications for SAG-AFTRA, said that while SAG’s policy is specific to performers, it supports initiatives by other entertainment industry unions.
“Wherever there is a need for a public forum to provide relief or address concerns on behalf of our members we support that,” she said. “We are always looking out for ways to help our members.”
The Motion Picture Association of America has 50 unions in its membership, which may seem like a lot until you realize that there are over 10,000 union members in the industry.
Tens of thousands of people make their living working in the industry, so it’s no wonder that some of them may have a beef with their employer.
And because the entertainment industry is so connected–actors frequently work on multiple projects within the same period of time–it can be hard to file a complaint against an employer without creating friction between union members.
The Director’s Guild of America recently created an arbitration process for grievances that may include as many as four different labor unions. The DGA had previously used arbitration for its own members, but has expanded it to include separate union groups in order to reduce the amount of conflict that might arise from such disputes.
The DGA is the latest group to create such a system, following SAG-AFTRA and the Animation Guild.
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