Non-AFTRA Contracts: Advisory Notice
The following is a reprint of an advisory geared to up-and-coming broadcasters who are not yet SAG-AFTRA members. It is reprinted here for the information of members.
Legacy AFTRA has received increasing reports of non-AFTRA agents representing broadcasters, and that some of these non-AFTRA agents are offering terms in their “non-AFTRA contracts” that are very problematic. Signing one of these non-AFTRA contracts without knowing exactly what the language in the contract means can be a very bad decision for a broadcast professional. Increasingly, SAG-AFTRA has seen younger broadcasters entering union markets from non-union markets who have already signed non-AFTRA contracts that contain what we refer to as a “perpetually-renewing agency clause” or “evergreen” clause.
Here are some of the potential dangers of signing with an agent that is not franchised under AFTRA’s Rule 12C.
Perpetually Renewing Agency Contracts- Broadcasters Be Aware!!
Non-AFTRA contracts can allow a non-AFTRA agent to charge anywhere from 10% to 25%, and often state that all extensions, renewals or renegotiations of employment contracts are commissionable, even after the expiration or rightful termination of the non-AFTRA contract. This means that if you decide to terminate your non- AFTRA contract, or let it expire, you will be faced with a non-AFTRA agent who demands commission be paid for as long as you are working for the same employer.
Do not sign an agency contract that contains a provision that allows an agent to continue to receive commission on your work with your employer even after the agency contract comes to an end. Such a provision allows an agent to profit from your employment for years after you have ceased to be represented by the agency. These types of provisions are not permitted in the AFTRA Standard Contracts used by AFTRA Franchised Agents. These clauses can be buried deep within a non-AFTRA contract and therefore hard to detect. For more information about these perpetually renewing clauses or evergreen clauses that have appeared in non-AFTRA contracts, please contact the SAG-AFTRA Agency Department at email@example.com.
Additional language to look out for:
The dangers of such non-AFTRA contracts and the important protections of the AFTRA Franchised Agency regulations are among the many reasons why SAG-AFTRA members should only work through AFTRA franchised agents for their agency representation. If you are interested in obtaining a list of agents franchised by SAG or AFTRA, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our Web site at SAGAFTRA.org.
 The AFTRA Regulations Governing Agents Rule 12C is the agreement between franchised agents and AFTRA with terms and conditions negotiated to benefit both the agents and SAG-AFTRA members.
 AFTRA Franchised Agents are permitted to commission the life of the employment contract they negotiated which may extend their right to commission beyond the AFTRA Agency Agreements