The union’s new voluntary Personal Managers Code of Ethics and Conduct really isn’t going over well with some managers. Just a day after the code was unveiled, SAG-AFTRA today sent an email to members over the “uninformed lobbying” against the new scheme by the Talent Managers Association. SAG-AFTRA claimed that its former partners in crafting the code had “reached the level of direct misrepresentations being sent to union members in an attempt to frighten them about the true intent of this Code.”
“Managers have been asked by SAG-AFTRA of the guild if we intend to help them get work,” reads one email from a personal manager obtained by Deadline. “I’m afraid that if we want to stay in the guild’s good graces we must turn away all guild members who approach us with agency representation.” The latter sentence refers to state labor laws in California and New York that limit personal managers’ ability to procure employment for their clients. SAG-AFTRA said today that the verbage in their code “closely mirrors” the laws of the Golden State and the Empire State – something the TMA obviously wants to use as wedge.
Half a dozen years in the making, the new ethics and conduct code marks the first time the union has attempted to exercise some control over managers even though it has, as do other guilds, long mandatorily regulated talent agents.
Here is the email SAG-AFTRA sent to its members today:
Important Message Regarding the Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct Agreement
As you may know, SAG-AFTRA recently released a Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct Agreement.
Our goal in developing this Code was to establish a framework of mutually agreeable principles and practices related to representation of performers by personal managers.
We have heard that there may be some confusion about the Code and want to ensure that you have the most comprehensive and accurate information. Please take a moment to read the Code for yourselves and also take a look at the FAQs that your union has published on the website at this link: http://www.sagaftra.org/managers/faqs.
The Code has been posted on the SAG-AFTRA website since last November. Initially released as a working document, we asked both affected members and personal managers alike to provide commentary and feedback. Up until a few weeks ago, SAG-AFTRA was in active communication with both the Talent Managers Association (TMA) and several independent managers to address changes that they requested to the document. The fruits of those efforts is the final Code you see on our website today.
We believed that the consensus document was acceptable to the TMA and others with whom we were communicating. Unfortunately, it appears that there is intensive and, in some cases, wildly uninformed lobbying going on from special interests within the personal management community. Their communications have even reached the level of direct misrepresentations being sent to union members in an attempt to frighten them about the true intent of this Code:
1) Some managers may be confused about the intended scope and application of the Code. The Code is absolutely voluntary and no manager is required to sign it. If the Code does not fit a manager’s business model, he or she is free to continue to represent SAG-AFTRA members outside of the union’s protection/jurisdiction. Importantly, the Code is only meant to apply to managers’ relationships with union members — managers who are signed to the Code may, indeed, have different relationships with non-union performers outside of the Code’s coverage.
2) The Code was drafted to provide for an appropriate and mutually beneficial relationship that is protected by your union. It is the start of an exciting and new relationship with a community on whom our members rely to help them craft their careers. But, again, the Code is voluntary for all parties.
3) The language in the Code regarding limitations on personal managers’ ability to procure employment closely mirrors both California and New York State Law. No aspect of the Code sanctions violation of any State Law, or adds any additional limitations to the freedoms personal managers already enjoy.
4) SAG-AFTRA is very proud of the final document, which has taken over six (6) years to craft. We believe, over time, that misleading and emotional statements about its intent and application will be proven false and it will become the industry standard in these relationships.
If you want your relationship with your manager to be covered by a union contract, please obtain information about the Code from SAG-AFTRA directly. That’s the only way to ensure that you get the facts. We urge you to find out more by visiting http://www.sagaftra.org/managers and reading the Code itself and the FAQs. Get the facts and disregard the rhetoric.
And, of course, feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or concerns that we can address.
Professional Representatives Department