(Los Angeles, CA--September 27, 2018) Nearly 1,000 SAG-AFTRA members today picketed in front of ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, LLC (BBH) which is trying to illegally abandon its union contract.
“BBH is trying to walk out on its contractual obligations and we are taking a stand,” said President Gabrielle Carteris. “As union actors, we must hold the line against those attempting to undercut our collective value and our ability to sustain a career.”
The picketing – which included SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and Los Angeles Local President Jane Austin, as well as Patrick Fabian, Frances Fisher, Kate Flannery, Spencer Garrett, Elliott Gould, Josh Groban, Sharon Lawrence, Kate Linder, Matt Letscher, Lisa Vidal, JoBeth Williams, among others – comes one week after SAG-AFTRA called a strike against BBH and instructed its members not to accept any work for the advertising agency.
During today’s picket at the Melrose Ave. offices of the ad agency, SAG-AFTRA members highlighted the benefits of working under a union contract, including better wages, health and pension benefits and safe sets.
“As we’ve seen from this outpouring of support from our membership, union performers are strong and united around the issues of fair pay and safe commercial sets,” said actor Mike Nelson. “These are issues that go to the core of what every performer strives for in their careers – workplace respect and the ability to earn a fair living.”
SAG-AFTRA’s Commercials Contracts have more than 600 signatories, which collectively produce the vast majority of commercials that viewers see every day. BBH has been a signatory to the contract since 1999. In recent years, SAG-AFTRA has worked with ad agencies to update their contracts to reflect the ever-changing media landscape. Just last year, for instance, SAG-AFTRA created the Low Budget Digital Waiver specifically to address the industry’s desire to produce smaller budget digital work for social media platforms.
Additionally, SAG-AFTRA is engaged in an extensive and productive outreach effort to grow commercial work opportunities for professional performers on union contracts. In August, The Honest Company, founded by member Jessica Alba, signed the union’s Commercials Contract. This enables Honest to gain access to the union’s strong talent base, while assuring that performers on all of the company’s commercials are paid fair wages and are eligible to receive pension and health benefits.
“Commercials are my bread and butter and I’m so grateful to the union,” said Laurel Coppock, commercial actor and a national spokesperson for an automobile company. “SAG-AFTRA has changed my life,” continued the mother of two. “Fair wages and health insurance? It’s the reason I can have a family.”
The BBH picket was part of the ongoing Ads Go Union campaign that has mobilized thousands of SAG-AFTRA members across the country. On Aug. 23, SAG-AFTRA members leafleted an NBA commercial shoot in Venice that employed non-union actors.
“I am here today to stand in solidarity with my SAG-AFTRA brothers and sisters and all of organized labor,” said Elliott Gould. “I started my career in commercials at around 9 or 10 years old. I can still remember my line for the Bonomo Turkish Taffy commercial: ‘It’s better than delicious, it’s scrumptious.’”
For more information about the strike, visit: sagaftra.org/strikebbh
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SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at sagaftra.org