SAG-AFTRA files formal complaint and request for a mediator with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America.
With the increasingly aggressive communications from Actors' Equity Association leadership and their surrogates in social media and elsewhere, we are forced to take action.
Consequently, it is with heavy hearts that we file a formal complaint and request for a mediator in our jurisdictional dispute with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, commonly known as the 4As. The 4As is the 101-year old federation of trade unions for performing artists in the United States that oversees jurisdictional issues within our sector of the entertainment industry. Please see a copy of our complaint here.
Let us be very clear: this is a last resort. We tried negotiation, but AEA refused our waiver and walked away from talks with no notice. We tried conciliation, but how can you reach common ground when your negotiation partner attacks you with a hit piece in The New York Times? The fact is, AEA leadership has rejected any alternative we offered and refuses to negotiate in good faith to find a mutually agreeable solution. AEA's attacks on our union would be shocking at any time. They are irresponsible and heart-breaking during a global pandemic and production shutdown that daily harms all of our members. The only real solution is through partnership, with a waiver that protects all members, which we continue to offer, but AEA refuses.
The dispute is beyond a simple difference of opinion. AEA leadership has spearheaded a divisive and damaging public campaign to force members to choose which union they support.
We believe that you should not have to choose. Our job is to protect the interests of SAG-AFTRA members and to help where we can, to protect AEA members. We remain eager to give AEA a waiver that would allow their members — many of whom are also SAG-AFTRA members — to continue working and earning through the pandemic. You can read the waiver we have offered AEA here).
Unfortunately, AEA leadership repudiated our waiver offer, broke off negotiations, and passed a resolution in Council calling for a formal public campaign against SAG-AFTRA members.
We cannot be silent or stand idly by while a fellow union attacks the interests of our members. Consequently, we filed our complaint and informed AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and the Department for Professional Employees of our action. We have requested the appointment of a neutral mediator to re-engage AEA in negotiations and still hope that they will accept a waiver to get their members back to work.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to seek a resolution that serves SAG-AFTRA members and protects our jurisdiction while giving much-needed support to AEA members during this critical time.
David P. White
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director
For more information, please visit sagaftra.org/wemakestreaming.