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The Associate’s Two Cents- SAG-AFTRA’s Got You Covered


In our last two posts (see here and here) we presented the advantages of performance rights organizations ASCAP and BMI for songwriters, music publishers and music composers. As these two organizations protect the interests of artists in the music industry, SAG-AFTRA is known worldwide as an organization that represents artists in all different areas of the entertainment industry. From actors to broadcasters, news writers and editors, and singers and recording artists, SAG-AFTRA’s got you covered. In the next two posts, we’ll discuss how, including the ins and outs of this mega artist rights organization.

What is SAG-AFTRA?

SAG-AFTRA was born as the result of a 2012 merger between two major industry giants. Before the merger, SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, was a union that represented the interest of actors and background actors. As a union, SAG sought to ensure fair compensation, working conditions, and benefits. Likewise its counterpart AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, represented radio and television talent including announcers, recording artists, singers, commercial talent, etc. in the same way SAG represented its talent.

In their current mission statement found on the SAG-AFTRA website, the organization defines itself as, “bringing together two great American labor unions: Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.” Practically, SAG-AFTRA sets the industry compensation and benefit standards for its talent. The organization ensures that anyone hiring SAG-AFTRA talent does so under the terms of the its negotiated contracts. In return, the employer gets experienced, high-quality, reputable talent.

Advantages of SAG-AFTRA Membership

The advantages of affiliation with this prestigious organization are too extensive to address comprehensively in this post, so our goal here is to summarize, guide and direct you as you refer to their website, for more information.

Global Rule One

It goes without saying that affiliation with SAG-AFTRA can bring many networking opportunities with industry professionals, and the possession of a membership card can bring international perks as well. However, this just the beginning. Global Rule One is the foundational protector of SAG-AFTRA talent. It provides that any employer seeking to hire Union talent, must execute this basic minimum agreement with the Union. In other words, areas where Union agreements are in effect, SAG-AFTRA talent should decline from working with any employer that has not signed these agreements. The Union posts “Do Not Work” orders on its website informing its members of those employers that are in violation of this requirement. The effect of Global Rule One is clear: it maintains the minimum compensation standards that the Union has negotiated for its talent. In fact, SAG-AFTRA talent that accepts employment from an employer that has not executed Global Rule One may be subject to discipline.


Even though we have seen the nature of the health insurance industry change over recent years, there’s no need for concern– SAG-AFTRA’s got those members that have reached minimum earnings potential covered. The Organization offers health benefits to its members under either the SAG-Producers’ Health Plan or the AFTRA Health Fund. Additionally, pension and credit union membership are also available for members that have reached minimum earnings potential.

For members that may not qualify for benefits yet, the ball is in their court to set professional goals for their careers and utilize the extensive networking and professional development resources that SAG-AFTRA has to offer. Any way you look at it, SAG-AFTRA’s got you covered. Click here for more information


In next week’s post, we will continue our discussion of SAG-AFTRA affiliation including resources for producers and highlight the steps to becoming a member of SAG-AFTRA.



Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained within this blog post and site is offered simply as a consideration to visitors who are in the entertainment industry and are seeking to learn more about various areas of entertainment, be it in film, movies, television, music, digital, new media, film financing, merchandising and/or branding. As such, the information so provided should never be construed as legal advice. If you need further assistance or legal advice for your specific matter, please do not hesitate in contacting an entertainment attorney (film, music, digital, licensing, financing) here in Los Angeles, California at The Hollywood Lawyer by(1) emailing us at; (2) calling us at (323) 300-4184; or (3) filling out our online form.  

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