This statement from the SAG-AFTRA National Election Committee is to inform you of various obligations imposed on you by federal law in connection with the upcoming SAG-AFTRA internal union elections. The National Elections Committee encourages you to carefully read this statement so you do not inadvertently violate SAG-AFTRA Election Guidelines or federal law.
Federal law prohibits any employer, including employers who are agents, managers, casting directors or producers, from contributing anything of value to candidates for any SAG-AFTRA elected office. If there is a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation, the DOL may seek to take statements from candidates and any employers who contributed to them. Further any such contributions may also result in that candidate’s election being overturned.
This prohibition includes indirect, as well as direct, contributions. The prohibition against the use of employer money includes any costs incurred by an employer, or anything of value contributed by an employer, in order to support the candidacy of the member. For example, the use of an employer's office or office equipment without charge has been construed to be an impermissible contribution by an employer. *
The following are examples of the application of these legal obligations to situations which commonly are confronted by candidates for Union office:
- No employer may provide any contributions or assistance of any kind to any candidate. Thus, for example, a talent agency may not provide support to an individual’s candidacy through financial contributions, solicitations of support through emails, mailings or social media, etc. – even if the candidate did not request the support. Even forwarding campaign-related emails may be a violation of this legal obligation.
- Employees may make contributions from their personal funds only if those employees are not acting on behalf of their employer.
Engaging in any of the conduct described above may jeopardize the integrity of the SAG-AFTRA election process. If you have any questions, please direct them to Michelle Bennett, Executive Director, Governance, at 323-549-6094.
* This restriction does not extend to ordinary business practices that might result in a benefit such as a discount on the cost of printing campaign literature made available on the same terms to other customers of the employer. Such discounts must be made known and available to all persons. The discount cannot be a “donation” to an individual candidate or slate of candidates.