What is SAG AFTRA?

Till March 30 2012 The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American labor union representing over 105,000 members which are professional film and television performers worldwide (principal and background). However on March 30, 2012, the union announced that SAG will merge with AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists which till this year was a performers' union that represented a wide variety of talent, including actors in radio and television, radio and television announcers and newspersons, singers and recording artists). The new union is now called SAG-AFTRA and have more than 150,000 members.

SAG-AFTRA's Guild seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members.

SAG was founded in 1933 in an effort to eliminate exploitation of actors in Hollywood who were being forced into oppressive multi-year contracts with the major movie studios that did not include restrictions on work hours or minimum rest periods, and often had clauses that automatically renewed at the studios' discretion. These contracts were notorious for allowing the studios to dictate the public and private lives of the performers who signed them, and most did not have provisions to allow the performer to end the deal.

The Screen Actors Guild is associated with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (AAAA), which is the primary association of performer's unions in the United States. The AAAA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. SAG claims exclusive jurisdiction over motion picture performances, and shares jurisdiction of radio, television, Internet, and other new media with its sister union AFTRA, with which it shares 44,000 dual members. Internationally, the SAG is affiliated with the International Federation of Actors.

In addition to its main offices in Hollywood, SAG also maintains local branches in several major US cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Since 1995, the guild has annually awarded the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which are considered an indicator of success at the Academy Awards

free registration

How To Become SAG AFTRA Eligible?

A performer becomes eligible for Screen Actors Guild membership under one of the following two conditions: (1) proof of SAG employment or (2) employment under an affiliated performers' union.

A) Proof of Employment

1. Principal Performer Employment

Performers may join SAG upon proof of employment. Employment must be in a principal or speaking role in a SAG film, videotape, television program or commercial. Proof of such employment may be in the form of a signed contract, or original pay stubs.

The document proving employment must provide the following information:

  • applicant's name
  • applicant's Social Security number
  • name of the production or name of the commercial (product name)
  • the salary paid (in dollar amount)
  • the specific date(s) worked.

2. Background Actors may join SAG upon proof of employment as a SAG-covered background player at full SAG rates and conditions for a MINIMUM of three work days subsequent to March 25, 1990. Employment must be by a company signed to a SAG Agreement under which the Producer is required to cover background actors. Proof of employment must be in the form of original paystubs or a payroll printout faxed from the payroll house. Such documents must provide the same information (name, Social Security number, etc.) as listed above.

B) Employment Under an Affiliated Performers' Union

Performers may join SAG if the applicant is a paid-up member of an affiliated performers' union (ACTRA, AEA, AFTRA, AGMA or AGVA) for a period of one year and has worked and been paid for at least once as a principal performer in that union's jurisdiction.

How To Join SAG?

Legitimacy of Application

  • Your application and proof of employment will be fully investigated by the Guild for validity. Your application for SAG membership will be denied if you have falsified your credentials, or if your qualifying employment is not bona fide.
  • While it is your responsibility to ascertain the validity of your qualifying employment, the Guild will be the sole arbiter in determining whether the employer was legitimate or bogus, and whether the qualifying employment which you performed was actual production work or work created solely to enable you to gain Guild membership. Please be aware that false representation or deception on your part will jeopardize your chances to join the Guild.
  • Further, if after your application has been granted the Guild discovers such misconduct on your part, you may find yourself subject to disciplinary proceedings, which could result in your being fined, suspended and/or expelled from the Guild.

Appointments for Admission

If you are eligible under the conditions stated above, please contact your nearest SAG office

Click Here to find a SAG Branch in your area!