The SAG Strike and YOU

By now, everyone has heard about the possibility of a SAG strike. Will it happen? That remains to be seen. On November 22, SAG abandoned its efforts to reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) regarding new media, leading SAG’s board to seek strike authorization from its members. The organizations have been in heated negotiations since SAG’s contract with the AMPTP expired in June, spurring rumors of a looming strike for the last several months.

What are they arguing about? Simply put, the AMPTP wants the right to create productions for new media (internet, cell phones, iTunes) using non-union actors and without paying residuals. SAG on the other hand, insists upon them using ALL union actors in internet-only productions and allowing them to earn residuals for each time the show is purchased.

The AMPTP claims that it has offered SAG the same deal that was accepted by all the other major Hollywood guilds (including IATSE which covers LOCAL 706- the makeup artists and hair stylists guild) and that SAG insists on something better. Their website states that, SAG has not justified why it deserves to be treated differently than the industry’s other Guilds and Unions- particularly at a time of extraordinary economic distress. Even going as far as saying that SAG is out of touch with reality.

The actual method is complicated. Now that SAG’s board has approved a vote, they will launch an educational campaign compelling all of its 120,000 members to vote “yes” to a strike. The polling process can take about a month and requires 75% approval before a strike can be mounted.

What does this mean to hair and makeup artists? As we learned from last year’s writers strike, which lasted three months, the results might be profound. During that time, union employees lost $342.8 million in wages. Now, like then, the strike might take a toll on the awards season as well. SAG can order its members to boycott awards shows, which means no red carpet for stars and no money for the hair and makeup artists who get them ready. However, during the WGA strike, it was still possible to find work on non-union, low budget, and independent projects. All of those projects, however, still use SAG actors, so they would be shut down as well. Yes, there are some sneaky folks who might try to work under the radar, but that’s dangerous as too. Just ask Elizabeth Hurley or Tiger Woods. They were both fined $100,000 for filming non-union commercials during the six month long SAG strike of 2000!

What happens now? Prepare and wait. If a strike happens, it could be as soon as January 11, but possibly not until mid-February. Of course it’s always a good idea to have money put away for emergencies, and this might be the time you use it. Proper financial planning can really help alleviate the pressure when times get tough, and hopefully you’ve learned some valuable tips from The Hair & Makeup Artist Network that you can use to your advantage. Temp and jobs can be great when the industry slows down, as can waitressing- your body is already used to 12 hour shifts on your feet! The Hair & Makeup Artists Network also has a long list of contacts at cosmetic companies, if you’d rather work as a freelance artist, doing makeovers for different lines.

In the meantime, you can sign a petition urging both parties to strike a deal. Check out http://www.petitiononline.com/DealNow/

by Karen Stein

http://www.hmartistsnetwork.com/business_and_entertainment_news

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