Working under a union contract—whether AFTRA, SAG, or Equity—provides an actor with many built-in protections, including preferential working hours and conditions; pension, health, and welfare benefits; minimum guaranteed fees; and additional compensation for the producer’s continued exploitation of the actor’s recorded performance. These protections are part of the collective bargaining agreement that the applicable union has negotiated with producers on behalf of performers. Of course, these protections represent minimum terms; the actor is free to negotiate for even better terms.
Actors not working under a union agreement, however, must negotiate for even these minimum safeguards. The following—some of the key protections of a collective bargaining agreement—are items that actors should aim to include in a nonunion deal.