Newly merged SAG-AFTRA

Joint National Board Meeting of the newly merged SAG-AFTRA

Tonight, 5/7/12, is the first Joint National Board Meeting of the newly merged SAG-AFTRA theatrical union. This promises to be a landmark meeting…a historical 1st.

In this world of corporate consolidation it was inevitable that the theatrical unions would, at last, join forces to deal with the reality that there are only 7 “employers” worldwide.

Media conglomerates are now a fact of life. We call these Seven “the Octopus.”

When you realize that the very first thing an employer seeks to do is lower “labor costs” it won’t be long until you face the fact that these “employers” will happily leap over imaginary boundaries to take advantage of more “favorable” employment standards.

Throw in “production incentives” based on taking advantage of a population bases’ reasonable desire to appear more “attractive” to potential employers by offering tax breaks and you have a recipe for abuse…and when it comes to working children these “trends” are all-too apparent…and dangerous.

If California rules are too restrictive, shoot in Nevada, and if Nevada can’t meet the standards of Canada, shoot in Vancouver, and if not Vancouver, BC, shoot in Toronto, Ontario…and so on.

For children, for whom the rules should always and everywhere be the same, this race-to-the-bottom is truly dangerous, especially when one considers that in the end these productions end up being broadcast on OUR airwaves here in America, and the dollars earned are never measured against the safeguards we foolishly believe are in place for kids in the Business as they are for show business animals.

You can argue that adults have to take their chances in the global workplace, and you won’t get an argument from me. But is that true for children? On what basis would you argue that kids, no matter where they live and work, should be treated (and paid) differently than any other kid if their employer and the money thus earned devolves to the same 7 employers? What “nationality” is “Profit?”

The work rules for Industry animals are the same the world over. Why not kids?

Paul Petersen