Financial Core Status EXPOSED!

Oppressive entertainers' union revealed

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SAG says you join us and play by our rules or you don’t play. That was, until the 1988 Supreme Court landmark decision, Communication Workers v. Beck, which freed up union members’ options, and after which Charlton Heston contested SAG and Equity’s monopoly on the acting pool; resulting in the little-heard of, and much less talked about ruling known as Financial Core.

Fi-Core for short.

I am often amazed at how few actors have heard about this right-to-work provision.

In a nutshell — filing Fi-Core allows you as an actor to work union or non-union productions. But you still pay dues. Or at least, you still pay 97% of your previous dues. SAG has determined, by some apparently random criteria that SAG earmarks only 3% to activities other than collective bargaining. (I hope no one was drinking anything while reading that; the spit-take could ruin your keyboard.) Once a SAG actor turns Fi-Core, henceforth you are referred to as a “dues-paying non-member.” (I am not making this up.) You maintain your pension status, your health care benefits, and except for a couple of minor changes, your acting career remains unchanged. The minor changes are these: You must fill out and sign a form stating you are resigning from SAG – the import of which means you can no longer vote in SAG elections and you no longer receive the high-quality, full-color-glossy monthly newsletter. I stopped to pause at that — deciding whether the six thousand dollars I was about to make acting in a certain G-rated non-union film for four days work would offset that terrible sacrifice.

A full second-and-a-half later, I resigned from SAG and filed Fi-Core. (Call me a whore.)

Now. Am I risking a lot telling you this? Probably. Hollywood is a union town. Union, union, union! To dissent from the lock-step is to paint the Scarlet ‘A’ on your non-union chest. The Leftist cabal that is primarily mainstream Hollywood will assuredly hate me, revile me, detest me, scorn me and want to wrap me in a booger burrito and take turns punting me over the Craft Service table for writing this. But I am about to reveal one of the tightest bits of insider info, one of the most closely guarded, oft-squelched facts in Hollywood:

Financial Core rocks!

SAG does not want you to know that Fi-Core even exists. Facts and information are terrible things to the Left status quo. What would that do for union-unified unity!? If people realized that they had more options, more choices, more rights to work…well it would be disastrous! It would lessen their ability to bargain as a tightly-knit union, it would lessen their impact on contract negotiations, it would…it would… it would reduce their power.

And in this or any other game…it’s all about power.

Once you file, here’s what happens: They try to talk you out of it. They tell you once you quit SAG, that’s it, you’re out. And if you persist, they sigh disparagingly and send you the forms, which you fill out and send back to them. Sometimes they call you back and try again to talk you out of it. But after you politely decline their offer, you actually sign a statement saying you are withdrawing from Screen Actors Guild. (Did I just hear a loud timpani roll?)


Now, maybe because it took so much for me to get into SAG in the first place… that one gave me quite a pause. But then I thought of my family and how much we needed the money, how much I wanted to do this particular role…and it was a no brainer. Boom, done. Fi-Core. That was maybe eight, nine years ago…and I’ve still managed to work steadily since. Union, non-union…whatever. Features, TV movies, non-union flicks, shorts, pilots, industry promos, web-series…some roles paying quite well, others not so well, some doodly-squat. But each time, I’d take the job for the love of acting, for the diversity and challenge of the role, and for getting to work with people I love.

No regrets…it’s all good.

(from bighollywood.breitbart.com)


Anonymous said...

As a SAG member preparing to go Fi-Core just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience! Its helped me gear up to make the scary call to SAG to elect Fi-Core status.

Joel Lambert said...

True, true.
You certainly can reap all the benefit of being in SAG while everyone else pays for it.
There's also a small group of people in the USA who think that income taxes are unconstitutional and refuse to pay them. They may have a very good point.
However, as a former member of the military and one of the overwhelming majority that pays income taxes, whether I agree with how out government spends the money or not, I get angry when the aforementioned people open their mouths about, well, just about anything regarding war, politics, or the state of America.
Enjoy the free ride, the rest of us will pay your way.

unionthug said...

This so-called benefit of SAG membership is that you might be allowed to work instead of being blackballed by the union bigs.

kid said...

I greatly support anyone going FiCore. This is America and we need to exercise our freedom of choosing what jobs we work regardless of the union status. When a power bill needs to be paid, will the union pay it? NOPE. But as a savvy entrepreneur you can educate yourself on how to negotiate what you're really worth and make more than the union would ever negotiate for you. Asa former union member since 2006 I learned the hard way that the union helps neither it's constituents nor the productions.

When I work non-union stunt jobs, I negotiate pay that's above SAG-AFTRA scale and I require that I be paid on the day services are rendered. Will the union do that? NO. In fact, on a union job, if you're not paid on time or accurately then the production can drag their feet for a year before the union starts to actually pressure the production.

And remember, its better to negotiate being paid at the end of the day than to squabble over a lousy meal penalty. Perhaps a bagged lunch is better than inedible money that may or may not ever come.

Educate yourself and become the best you can be at what you do and pursue it with passion to make sure you're paid fairly.


Amb said...

@Joel Lambert free ride means you aren't paying anything. Those of Fi-core status still have to pay dues. LOL Gets me how no one pays attention to this.

Anonymous said...

I opt to pay full dues. I am fi-core now for 20 years and don't regret it. The non-union things I work on would never go union to begin with because of how little the unions care about the one-time and/or small companies.

That being said, the us/them liberal/conservative language of this article serves no one and only exacerbates the death of nuanced positions and America's political divide. Reasoned argument will always work better than snark and large paint brushes.

Anonymous said...

From a purely selfish/egocentric point of view, fi-core makes sense. However, every working member who goes fi-core diminishes the union's ability to bargain collectively. If production companies have access to experienced union actors without having to negotiate pay and conditions with the union, then wages will plummet (on both union and non-union jobs) and hours will skyrocket. It's great that you can still do both forms of work, and benefit from well-paying union jobs when you book them. Just know that if everyone did what you did, there would be no well-paying union jobs.

Anonymous said...

That's entirely hypothetical and there's no evidence to support such a theory. Look at major players in all types of businesses and you'll see people that are working as million dollar salary CEOs to well known motivation speakers such as Tony Robbins, whom are not members of any union yet they command a high salary. Why? I won't go so far to say they are worth it but they market themselves and do not "lower their self worth".

The issue with the union is that it's collective bargaining strongarming productions to pay for sub par service.

Can you say that every union member is worth the minimum pay? I can say for certain that no that is not the cause and unions get stuck paying a high wage for a low quality employee.

If the person can negotiate a supportive wage on their own then they lack the basic business skills to move forth in life without someone holding their hand and doing the negotiating for the.

If every single person adopted strong work ethic and morals, operated in a fashion that raised their self worth and knew how to decline work that undervalued their worth then productions would naturally have to pay what the market commands.

A great example of this is the world of SEO and web marketing. These people aren't a member of a union, yet operating as individuals they were able to establish a market standard.

Aside from all this, we are talking about people that want to play dress up and "act" instead of helping the world or community in a way that will lead to sustainability. In the end, I personally don't care if the jesters make one dollar or a one million. I've set my self worth and make more on non union shows than I do on union because I'm able to negotiate exactly what I want, not what the union says I want.

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