SAG-AFTRA Modifies Interim Agreement Policy To Exclude WGA-Covered Projects Shot In The U.S.

SAG-AFTRA, in solidarity with the Writers Guild, has modified its interim agreement policy to exclude any projects shot in the U.S. that are covered by the WGA.

To date, more than 200 productions have signed interim agreements, and those deals will remain in effect. A person familiar with the new policy tells Deadline that only about 15%-20% of independent feature films covered by SAG-AFTRA also are covered by the WGA – in normal times and during the ongoing writers and actors strikes.

SAG-AFTRA said it made the decision to modify its independent agreement policy “after several productive and collaborative meetings” with the WGA “and upon the recommendation” of Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator.

“The Interim Agreement is an important element of our strike strategy,” the SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee said in a statement today (read it in full below). “We will now exclude from Interim Agreements any WGA-covered project to be produced in the USA. We have been advised by the WGA that this modification will assist them in executing their strike strategy, and we believe it does not undermine the utility and effectiveness of ours. It is a win-win change.

“This means that, going forward, for productions taking place in the USA, SAG-AFTRA will only grant Interim Agreements for non-WGA-covered projects. And our staff will continue to investigate each application for an Interim Agreement to ensure only true independent productions are included.”

The covered projects are those not produced by or for the companies aligned with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“The strike action is evolving each day,” the SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee said. “We are adapting in real time to continue protecting our members while collaborating with our sister unions in fighting for our common cause. We created the Interim Agreements for several reasons, all of which are aimed at protecting the interests of our members and members of sister unions, so that journeymen performers and crew may continue to work and pay their bills while demonstrating to the AMPTP that independent producers are eager to work with our members under these terms.

“SAG-AFTRA continues to support the Writers Guild of America in its fight to achieve a fair and equitable contract. And we continue to urge independent producers to apply for an Interim Agreement and encourage SAG-AFTRA members to work on projects that obtain approval, along with all the other permissible work we support.”

Here is the full statement from SAG-AFTRA’s TV/Theatrical/Streaming Negotiating Committee:

The Interim Agreement is an important element of our strike strategy. Because we know some of you had questions and even concerns about it, we have focused over the last week on putting out more information about it, including a letter from this committee, a letter from our president and national executive director & chief negotiator, a live-streamed webinar, increased social media messaging, and more. We appreciate the positive feedback and encouragement we’ve received.

Our staff and attorneys have also been actively discussing with the WGA how we can make sure that our Interim Agreement strategy supports their strike strategy, which does not presently include the offer of any Interim Agreements. After several productive and collaborative meetings, and upon the recommendation of our NED & chief negotiator, we have approved a modification to our Interim Agreement policy. We will now exclude from Interim Agreements any WGA-covered project to be produced in the USA. We have been advised by the WGA that this modification will assist them in executing their strike strategy, and we believe it does not undermine the utility and effectiveness of ours. It is a win-win change.

This means that, going forward, for productions taking place in the USA, SAG-AFTRA will only grant Interim Agreements for non-WGA-covered projects. And our staff will continue to investigate each application for an Interim Agreement to ensure only true independent productions are included.

We created the Interim Agreements for several reasons, all of which are aimed at protecting the interests of our members and members of sister unions, so that journeymen performers and crew may continue to work and pay their bills while demonstrating to the AMPTP that independent producers are eager to work with our members under these terms. The strike action is evolving each day. We are adapting in real time to continue protecting our members while collaborating with our sister unions in fighting for our common cause.

SAG-AFTRA continues to support the Writers Guild of America in its fight to achieve a fair and equitable contract. And we continue to urge independent producers to apply for an Interim Agreement and encourage SAG-AFTRA members to work on projects that obtain approval, along with all the other permissible work we support.

In solidarity,

The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical/Streaming Negotiating Committee

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