Los Angeles, CA (May 12, 2004) – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) this week marked the second anniversary of Global Rule One, which ensures Guild members enjoy SAG contract protections wherever they work in the world. Since its enactment by the SAG National Board in May 2002, the historic initiative has helped generate a 200 percent increase in foreign theatrical and television productions shot under SAG terms and conditions, resulting in substantial member earnings and millions of dollars in union pension and health care contributions.
“There is no greater example of solidarity in action than Global Rule One,” said SAG President Melissa Gilbert. “Through this continuing display of unionism, SAG members have demonstrated unwavering support that has firmed up protections for working actors and provided our health and pension plans with a much-needed boost. We now need to focus our efforts on facilitating increased production in the U.S.
The solidarity of SAG members has been essential to the success of Global Rule One, which states: “no member shall work as a performer for any producer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the Guild which is in full force and effect.” SAG secured 69 foreign theatrical motion pictures in 2002. An additional 120 projects signed on in 2003. And, already this year, SAG has secured some 60 new productions.
“The working members of Screen Actors Guild are making Global Rule One a reality,” said Tess Harper, chair of SAG’s Global Rule One Committee. “Before Global Rule One went into effect, many of the actors who returned home after working abroad on blockbusters like "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Matrix" could have faced the harsh reality that they no longer qualified for continued medical insurance or had any contributions to SAG’s pension and health plans made on their behalf. Global Rule One has addressed those fundamental problems, and is a shining example SAG working at its best.”
Prior to 2002, many SAG actors working on productions abroad were not afforded union protections or contributions on their behalf to the guild’s pension and health plans. As a result, performers frequently discovered they did not qualify for these benefits upon completing their work. Since the inception of Global Rule One, Guild member earnings on foreign productions covered by SAG contracts have topped $120 million. An additional $6 million from foreign productions has been contributed to SAG’s pension and health funds. These figures reflect approximately 650 union jobs.
The breakdown of foreign theatrical productions embracing Global Rule One include 135 Canadian productions, 75 United Kingdom productions and more than 47 other productions worldwide in countries such as Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, China, South Africa, India, Argentina, Austria, Belgium and Holland. Studios and independent producers alike have afforded worldwide protections to SAG members employed in such films as “Ella Enchanted,” “Troy” and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”
“We are very pleased that every international performers union has worked with SAG on the Global Rule One mandate,” said Sallie Weaver, SAG’s national deputy director of contracts. “With their cooperation, SAG members will reap not only the immediate rewards of fair compensation and working conditions, but the future benefit of realizing their pension and health benefits.”
The progress enjoyed among foreign television productions has mirrored that of foreign theatrical. In the year prior to Global Rule One’s adoption, only 47 foreign television productions were conducted under SAG terms and conditions. Now, a record 79 foreign television producers offer protections to Guild members.
The issue first gained momentum in 1996 as Guild members noted a dramatic increase in productions filmed overseas using Guild actors working under contracts that were not comparable to SAG agreements. This trend resulted in an estimated $22.9 million in lost revenue for SAG pension and health funds. Over the next five years, SAG estimates that these losses would have reached $35.8 million without Global Rule One