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More than 70 SAG-AFTRA members rallied tonight at the union’s Los Angeles headquarters to draw attention to the plight of commercial actors. A grassroots organization called UnionWorking says that “upwards of 60% of commercials today are being produced using nonunion talent.” The guild declined to either confirm or deny that figure.
The rally is being held in advance of a meeting tonight that’s part of SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing #AdsGoUnion campaign to “help increase union commercial opportunities.”
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“We’re here today to ask the union what they’re doing with celebrity outreach,” said rally organizer Killian McHugh at the event, which just wrapped. The veteran commercial actor, who operates a popular workshop on commercial acting, added: “A-list celebrities are getting millions of dollars for one day’s work, and then the next day the production company turns around and shoots a non-union commercial. We want to know what SAG-AFTRA is doing about it. I had a meeting with the president of SAG-AFTRA several months ago and I’m not seeing any progress.”
Deadline reported last week that actors are currently being cast in Los Angeles for a non-union NBA commercial. SAG-AFTRA says it’s “cracking down on members who don’t honor the commitment they made to their union sisters and brothers to only work union.” 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.
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“We’re engaging our members, nationwide, in this campaign because we need all hands on deck!” the union says. “We’re disciplining members who don’t honor their commitment to only work union jobs, because we’ll only be successful if we all stand strong together.”
Part of that campaign, the union said, is “making sure agencies and advertisers, who are signatory to our contracts,...
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