Since 1937, broadcasters have joined together through SAG-AFTRA to protect their ability to earn a living, to defend standards of professionalism, and to elevate working conditions in an extremely challenging industry.
SAG-AFTRA protects individuals so they can provide their audiences and communities with the quality news coverage and programming they deserve and expect from a trusted broadcast professional.
SAG-AFTRA is a diverse national labor union representing more than 160,000 performers and journalists working in the news media and entertainment industry. They are the people who entertain and inform America. SAG-AFTRA’s broadcast members work as reporters, anchors, program hosts, DJs, news writers, editors, producers, and the like. SAG-AFTRA members work across the country, in markets large and small, at radio and television stations at the local, regional and national level as well as on the Internet, mobile and out-of-home platforms.
SAG-AFTRA represents you by negotiating and enforcing strong contracts, by advocating for members on legislative and public policy issues that directly affect members’ wages and working conditions, and by promoting standards of professionalism in a challenging industry. As an individual, it’s often difficult to stand up for fair treatment and professional integrity in the workplace; but with the combined strength of more than 160,000 professional members of SAG-AFTRA, you can ensure the protection of your rights.
Thousands of SAG-AFTRA members are working journalists and they need to know that they will not be compelled to reveal the confidential sources they depend on to cover important news stories. Without a federal shield law, reporters face dire penalties, including imprisonment and/or severe fines, for upholding their professional code of ethics to report news in the public interest. Federal legislation is critical to preserving a free and open press. This is not just a critical issue for journalists, but for all of us who need to receive accurate information in order to make informed decisions.
Although 49 states and the District of Columbia recognize some form of a reporter’s privilege, no such recognition exists on the federal level. The Free Flow of Information Act was first introduced in 2006 — and has been reintroduced every session to date — to establish a federal shield law providing significant protections to journalists. SAG-AFTRA continues to support this legislation and we need your help.
This year, the Senate Bill number is S. 987, and it is expected to come before the Senate this summer. On behalf of our thousands of SAG-AFTRA member journalists, we ask that you urge your senator to support it.
Without these protections in place, the result is a chilling effect on journalists who fear federal prosecution or being subpoenaed. A federal shield law is necessary not only to safeguard journalists, but also to encourage people to come forward and speak out.
Representatives need to know they should vote for S.987.
PLEASE HELP BY CALLING THESE SENATORS TODAY! Ask them to schedule a vote for S.987 as soon as possible, and PASS IT!
Click here to find your representative’s number.
SAG-AFTRA is a union that has among its members a diverse group of performers, broadcasters and newscasters. This call to action should not be interpreted as a personal statement of opinion by or of any specific member of the union.
You Have a Voice at Work
Whether you’re a seasoned broadcast professional or someone who is new to the industry, you have an invaluable skill set and a vision that enables you to accurately report the news and portray society in a way that helps us better understand who we are as a community. Your employers are obligated to turn a profit, and sometimes that obligation creates conflicting purposes with your vision. When you become affiliated with SAG-AFTRA, your voice will be heard and your opinion will matter. Unlike non-union professionals, you will have greater protection when standing up for your personal standards of professionalism and you will play a critical role in the success of your station or network.
Contract Enforcement and Negotiation
SAG-AFTRA uses the collective power of members to negotiate strong contracts that guarantee minimum (but never maximum) salaries, safe working conditions, and health and retirement benefits. SAG-AFTRA is at the forefront of bargaining with employers regarding new technologies that have inherent implications on the workload of our members. When the union is unable to resolve disputes with employers, SAG-AFTRA contracts include procedures for binding arbitration. The cost of these proceedings is paid by the union.
Legislative Protections and Advocacy
SAG-AFTRA does not make political endorsements, or contribute to election campaigns. However, SAG-AFTRA has an effective program to engage elected leaders on issues that directly affect broadcasters’ wages and working conditions. On issues such as ownership consolidation in the broadcast industry, Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations, health and safety issues, and opposing “non-compete” restrictions in employment contracts, SAG-AFTRA works on the federal, state, and local level to ensure that broadcasters’ voices are heard on important legislative and public policy issues.
Health and Retirement
In many cases, SAG-AFTRA contracts provide for participation in the AFTRA Health and Retirement Plan, which provides health insurance and a defined benefit pension plan to participants. SAG-AFTRA supports the welfare of its members through benefits and programs sponsored or supported by the union. AFTRA Health and Retirement Plan was the first multi-employer health and retirement plan in the industry. The Health Fund provides comprehensive medical and hospital benefits, a dental plan, a prescription drug program, as well as mental health and substance abuse programs. The Retirement Fund is portable, so that if you leave a station where you’ve got AFTRA H&R coverage to go work at another employer with AFTRA H&R coverage, your health coverage will be uninterrupted, and you’ll continue to earn vesting and pension credits toward a secure retirement.
Personal Service Contract Consultation
SAG-AFTRA regularly provides personal service contract consultation. Whether or not you have legal or agency representation, SAG-AFTRA’s professional staff will provide you – at no cost – with an analysis of your employment contract, and an explanation of how that agreement intersects with the union contract in your workplace.
Member Education and Outreach
SAG-AFTRA provides broadcasters with the necessary tools, education and support needed to pursue their careers with security and dignity through member education classes, seminars, showcases, panels and industry event discounts.