SAG-AFTRA and the Actors’ Equity Association have agreed to a six-month extension of an agreement they reached last year that settled a bitter jurisdictional dispute over the taping or streaming of live theater during the Covid-19 pandemic. The agreement was originally set to expire at the end of the year, but the extension acknowledges the ongoing nature of the pandemic and sets Juine 30, 2022, as the new expiration date.
AEA has jurisdiction over actors and stage managers who work in live theater, but SAG-AFTRA has long held that the taping of live shows falls under its jurisdiction. Last year, as the pandemic shuttered live theater productions across the country – and is doing so again – SAG-AFTRA offered Equity a limited waiver that allowed for the taping of certain shows. Equity initially rejected that offer, and SAG-AFTRA then filed a jurisdictional complaint with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, through which both unions are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
When they settled the dispute in November 2020, SAG-AFTRA leaders said that “recognizing the challenges for theater during the pandemic and that the only way for live theater companies to reach audiences is by recording and/or streaming productions to a remote audience, SAG-AFTRA has agreed that AEA will cover this work during the pandemic period with a term concluding December 31, 2021, subject to certain limitations including distribution on platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.”
See the original agreement here.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the unions said that “the original agreement reaffirms the historic solidarity and deep bonds between Equity and SAG-AFTRA and their members.”