the unique alignment between union and non-union actors during the sag-aftra strike

SAG-AFTRA Strike PeterI’ve been asked by some friends outside the voiceover industry why I – a non-union voice actor – have posted a supportive message for those involved in the current SAG-AFTRA strike.

Kinda like – you’re not in the union, why do you care about this union strike?

Theirs was not a negative question…they were simply curious – and not really involved in the voiceover industry – so they see the two types of work groups (union/non-union) as sort of competing.

I’ve never viewed the two groups that way, but OK.

In life, I have found that when I get asked a question like this more than once (or three times), it usually means more people also have that question…so let’s address it.

My reasons as a non-union voice actor for supporting the SAG-AFTRA union performers who are on strike are both personal and professional.

First personal, which is very simple – some of the striking performers are my friends and many (whether I know them or not) have been voice and on-camera performers for many years.

These performers- working under the “TV/Theatrical Contracts” and many of whom you have likely NEVER heard of – have been underpaid (especially by streaming companies), are facing the prospect of even less work due to technology (more on that in a minute) and are currently getting NO pay and no work because they feel the need to force change through this work stoppage.

SAG-AFTRA On StrikeFor their sacrifice….on their lives, their art, their families and their well-being…I’ll gladly contribute my non-union support to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

NB: A little good news in the midst of a difficult situation – it’s been posted that the current “TV/Theatrical Contracts” dispute does NOT include voiceover work like commercials and narrations. So SAG-AFTRA members can voice commercials and narrations during the strike.

Next, professional reasons. I’ll start (and end) with this: the outcome of the SAG-AFTRA strike WILL have repercussions on non-union voiceover work.

But? Huh? What?!

A few points to clarify the impact of a new SAG-AFTRA agreement on union and non-union performers (both on-camera and voiceover)

  • The current strike specifically involves SAG-AFTRA’s “TV/Theatrical Contracts” with AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) — this contract primarily impacts starring, featured and background TV and movie performers; this contract’s impact on a majority of voiceover projects (and rates) is a fairly small part of this agreement, but not nothing either
  • Non-union VO rates have used a variety of guides to determine our fees…one of those measurements has been the SAG-AFTRA VO rates – ANY change (big or small) in SAG-AFTRA VO rates impacts non-union rates to some level
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is proving audio and visual technology that would allow producers replace actors with a person’s image, likeness and voice with something computer generated…costing the jobs of tens of thousands of on-camera and voice actors

There are many other important points of dispute of course, but the consequences of the decisions reached on the above items in any new SAG-AFTRA agreement will impact voice actors regardless of their union status.

Stay tuned.

One Response to “the unique alignment between union and non-union actors during the sag-aftra strike”

  1. Absolutely. Union friends being affected aside…come on! Does anyone REALLY think these same bastards won’t do the same thing to Non-Union actors (if they aren’t already, of course)?