Guild takes stand against problem producers to recover tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages
Los Angeles (July 21, 2004) – In a groundbreaking move to recover residual payments owed its members, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today announced it sold the rights to seven different films at the union’s first-ever public foreclosure auction held this past July 13 at SAG’s Los Angeles headquarters. The innovative and aggressive effort sends a message to delinquent producers that the union will not stand by as its members are deprived of the full compensation owed them for their work.
“Recouping lost wages through foreclosure will be an ongoing course of action for Screen Actors Guild. It’s unacceptable that each year many producers fail to make proper payments of millions of dollars of wages owed to SAG-represented performers,” says SAG Deputy Assistant General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “Producers who do not take their contractual responsibilities seriously must understand that this was not a one-time event. We will protect our members from problem producers who have a track record of not paying our members for their work.”
As part of the Guild’s collective bargaining agreements, producers frequently guarantee payments to performers and use the film rights as a form of collateral. In this instance, once the producers defaulted on their residual payments – which total over $400,000 for the seven films – SAG began pursuing the delinquent residuals until finally exercising its option to foreclose.
The seven titles auctioned by the Guild were all independent productions that feature a number of notable lead performers. One film sold for five figures. The additional six titles will be sold privately through a sales agent to maximize the amount ultimately returned to members still owed residuals for the films. A total sales figure will be available in early 2005 when the process is completed. SAG’s legal and financial assurances departments organized the foreclosure and public auction.
The seven titles are: Blood Money (1996); Delivered (1998); The Linguini Incident (1991); Skeletons (1996); Telling Lies in America (1997); Traveller (1997); Under Heaven (1998).
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s premier labor union representing actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution of the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Additional information about SAG can be found website at www.sag.org