SAG-AFTRA has declared victory in its efforts to shut down Executive Media Services’ ability to employ union actors in TV commercials after revoking the company’s signatory status in August. “Now, without the ability to access professional union talent, EMS is ceasing operations under the Commercials Contracts,” the union said today.
EMS president Patricia Bogart, however, is crying foul.
“They had given us until March 31 to be an active signatory,” she told Deadline. “This is their MO – just like before when they posted that they’d revoked our signatory status without going through the arbitration process. They only give half the story.”
“I’ve been a signatory for 30 years as EMS,” she said, adding she intends to remain so through March 31 of next year. “The whole situation is underhanded when they go after one third-party signatory and not all of them. What they put out is that I’m out of business today. That’s what I have a problem with.”
EMS may be the first to have its signatory status revoked, but it probably won’t be the last. “The union is reconsidering its relationship with all signatory service companies to the Commercials Contracts that are not in fact real employers, and will determine if there is any role for these entities in the future,” SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White said. “We will not countenance companies that claim to act as employers, but really aren’t.”
Said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: “Some entities may be masquerading as the employer of performers on commercials and providing signatory services for a fee and if so, we will be cracking down. Indeed, we question whether any signatory service company is the real employer of SAG-AFTRA performers.”
The union says it “must have a direct relationship with only bona fide employers to ensure it can enforce the protections required by the union contract. This includes ensuring that the employer creates a safe work environment, uses the actor’s performance in a responsible manner, and properly pays wages and health and pension contributions.”
Several other companies that are under investigation, including CMC Forecast, Waving Cat, Talent Solutions and Talent Direct, remain under heightened review.