AFTRA Clarifies CBA Coverage for Work on Studio Center Projects

Mar 24, 2011, 15:05 ET from Studio Center

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AFTRA and Studio Center Total Productions have reached an understanding clarifying the ability of AFTRA members to work on Studio Center productions where Falcon Paymasters or another AFTRA signatory is involved as the employer.  

Studio Center is not the talent employer on its union productions.  William "Woody" Prettyman, CEO of Studio Center Total Productions, stated, "On union productions, we utilize Falcon Paymasters to employ talent and handle all payroll issues, including union benefits and dues."  Because Studio Center is not an employer for union projects, AFTRA issued a "disclaimer of interest" in January to confirm to AFTRA members that there is not a direct relationship between Studio Center and AFTRA.  However, the notice and emails to AFTRA members incorrectly implied that work on Studio Center projects will not be covered by AFTRA's collective bargaining agreements.    

Prettyman said, "Some AFTRA talent indicated confusion about AFTRA's disclaimer and concern that they would not be able to work on Studio Center productions, so we reached out to AFTRA for clarification."  Mathis Dunn, AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director, Commercials, Non-Broadcast & Interactive Media, stated in correspondence to Studio Center, "AFTRA's sole purpose was to clarify the relationship and notify its members accordingly."  AFTRA General Counsel, Thomas Carpenter, further explained in an email, "To clarify our position:  as long as AFTRA members are working for an employer that is a signatory to the appropriate AFTRA contract, the work would be covered by an AFTRA agreement."

Falcon Paymaster is an AFTRA signatory, thus Studio Center's union projects are handled through Falcon Paymaster and covered under AFTRA collective bargaining agreements.

What about Studio Center's non-union productions?  "Our offices in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Las Vegas and Memphis are located in Right-to-Work states," said Prettyman.  In Virginia, Nevada and Tennessee, AFTRA's union security agreements that require union membership and payment of dues as a condition of employment are unlawful.  In these states, talent cannot be prohibited from working on any production, union or non-union.  However, under AFTRA's union membership rules, an AFTRA member could be disciplined unless they have first resigned their AFTRA membership prior to working on non-union productions.   In California, New York, and all other states that do not have Right-to-Work laws, AFTRA members may not be disciplined for work on non-union productions if they have resigned their full union memberships and declared a "financial core membership."  For more information on Right-to-Work laws and AFTRA membership rules, go to: http://www.nrtw.org/d/sag_aftra_strike.htm

SOURCE Studio Center