In a crackdown on so-called “signatory services” that pose as employers of commercial actors, SAG-AFTRA has revoked the signatory status of Executive Media Services, which the guild has found to be an “illegitimate employer.”
EMS’ website notes that “For over 30 years, we’ve offered service-oriented business affairs and signatory services to leading ad agencies, production companies, and brands all across the globe.”
“That’s nice that they haven’t let us know,” an EMS spokesperson said sarcastically when informed that the union had yanked its permit to hire SAG-AFTRA members.
“The decision to revoke EMS is part of SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing investigation into several companies we believe have falsely represented themselves as real employers of performers for commercials,” said David White, the guild’s national executive director.
Said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: “This revocation of an illegitimate employer is a clear sign that we are willing to take serious steps to ensure the protection of our members. Performers employed under a SAG-AFTRA contract should never need to worry about their safety on set, the risk of not getting paid for their work, or the responsible use of their performance.”
The guild said its investigation “was spurred by concerns that a number of companies in the commercials industry are providing ‘signatory services’ for a fee and falsely representing themselves as the employer of performers on commercials.”
SAG-AFTRA said it revoked EMS’ status after determining it is “in violation of its agreement with SAG-AFTRA.” EMS was the fourth-largest signatory service company signed to the union’s commercials contracts.
The union said it is investigating numerous other companies including CMC/Forecast, Waving Cat, Talent Solutions and Talent Direct. The move against signatory services is part of the union’s ongoing campaign to combat non-union commercial productions. In the past year, the union says it’s caught more than 130 of its members who have worked on non-union ads and sent them through the guild’s disciplinary process, where they face fines, suspension or expulsion.