SAG-AFTRA disclosed on Thursday that it is undergoing a new round of staff cuts at its offices, citing a financial hit due to the monthslong film and TV production shutdown amid the pandemic.
In the new round of layoffs, its third this year, approximately 45 staffers were impacted by the cuts. Some 171 staffers have been laid off by SAG-AFTRA since March brought COVID-19 shutdowns in the United States.
Leadership for the performers union, president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White, wrote a note to SAG-AFTRA’s roughly 160,000 members on Thursday, saying that the additional layoffs were made “in response to the accelerating impact of the pandemic on the union’s current and future financial condition.”
The union, headquartered on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, will have around 400 staffers after the latest layoffs have been implemented. Earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA permanently laid off 60 employees in Los Angeles, according to a notice filed with the state of California in August. In New York, 30 employees were cut, per an amended notice filed with the state’s Department of Labor in July.
“After many years of disciplined financial management, we were able to build up the reserves which allows our organization to be well positioned to endure a period such as this,” wrote Carteris and White. “However, as we are all painfully aware, the production shutdown over the last 7 months has shattered earnings across nearly all sectors of our membership.”
The SAG-AFTRA leaders warned that revenue for the union would take a hit amid this year’s downturn in production. “[N]ext year’s revenue for the union will reflect diminished members earnings from this year due to the production shutdown,” read the note to members. “In other words, even as production ramps up again, our fiscal situation will continue to show the impact of the industrywide shut down next year, and possibly beyond.”
Additionally, the union said on Thursday that it is extending dues relief for members financially impacted by the pandemic, beginning on Oct. 26. “Members experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship can request and will be granted a dues relief extension and an installment plan,” the union’s notice said. “No late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.”