LOS ANGELES — A proposed agreement between the Screen Actors Guild and talent agents would hold agents accountable for enforcing union contracts outside the United States, union officials said Thursday.
The Screen Actors Guild had previously announced it would require actors to work under SAG contracts when acting in Canada, Australia and other countries that have been attracting film and television production in recent years. That rule takes effect May 1.
“The cooperation of the agents will make the implementation far more significant than if the actors have to do it by themselves,” SAG spokesman Ilyanne Kichaven said.
Under the recent agreement, which must still be ratified by both sides, agents would be required to sign actors to union contracts when finding them work overseas.
If a client is signed to nonunion work, even by mistake, the agent would forfeit all commissions. The actor would be subject to union discipline.
The agreement is expected to fill as many as 3,000 overseas acting jobs with union members over the next five years, Kichaven said.
The SAG board of directors will vote on the deal March 11, after which members will vote.
SAG actors who work overseas often are forced by production companies to accept nonunion deals or work under local union rules. In Canada, actors working under the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists earn less than their SAG counterparts.
Over the past decade, millions of dollars of film and television production have taken place outside the United States because it is cheaper to film in Canada, Australia and other countries that offer significant tax incentives.
The trend is commonly called “runaway production.”
SAG estimates that in the past five years, more than $190 million has been lost in union wages, dues and contributions to the union’s pension and health plan because of SAG actors accepting nonunion work overseas.