In 2018 we are celebrating our 30th year in business and as such we had planned on populating our social media platforms, and this blog, with fun, interesting and unusual things that have happened during our 30-years of serving the entertainment industry. It has been our mission from Day One to work with our clients and SAG-AFTRA to expand employment opportunities for its members.
However, over the past few months SAG-AFTRA has been reviewing the signatory status of EMS and a number of our competitor co-producers. As of earlier this week, the Union decided to single EMS out and revoke our signatory status. Their claim is that EMS has not lived up to our obligation as a bona-fide producer which includes making sure members are paid properly and on time, both during production and throughout the life of the commercial, and that their safety is ensured while on set.
Frankly we were flabbergasted to receive this notice of revocation. Throughout our three decades of working as a co-producer, we have enjoyed the best of relationships with SAG-AFTRA, both leadership and commercial reps, its members, and talent agents throughout the US and in Europe. As recently as the morning of the day we received the letter of intent to revoke, we received a call from a client in New York who had been referred to us by the Union.
We firmly believe we play a valuable role in the marketplace by employing members and ensuring those members are paid properly and on a timely basis. We take a lot of pride in our track record of compliance under the Commercials Contract, as well as the fact that we assist our production partners in securing coverage for performers in countless productions that might otherwise be shot on a non-union basis. Additionally, our insight into the intricacies of the Commercials Contract ensures that our clients do not pay more than they should and that Union members are properly paid for their performance; both for the production of and the use of their performance.
Those that maintain that the eradication of legitimate co-producers from the commercial production landscape would not result in a substantial diminishment of signatory work for SAG-AFTRA members are making a gross miscalculation. EMS, and our competitor co-producers, create opportunities for SAG-AFTRA members and it would be counter-productive to attempt to revoke our signatory status.
EMS is entitled to arbitrate the question of whether SAG-AFTRA has the right to revoke our signatory status and we have provided the Union with notice of our intent to exercise this right. Final resolution of this issue is not likely to occur for at least six weeks. In the meantime, the possibility remains that EMS may be able to negotiate a settlement with SAG-AFTRA in lieu of arbitration.
We are convinced that we will achieve a satisfactory resolution to this matter that will not impose a disruption on our clients’ business. We will continue to keep you apprised as things develop in the coming weeks. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.