On Feb. 7, an agreement between a powerful labor union and social media influencers shocked many “traditional” workers in the entertainment industry. SAG-AFTRA, or The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is an esteemed union for entertainment workers. The union represents many respected actors, singers and fashion models, including Robert De Niro, Michael J. Fox, Meryl Streep and Kerry Washington.
The union recently approved of an “influencer agreement,” which focuses on content that is created and distributed by influencers. Previously, the union only covered advertising for YouTubers. Other platforms that are now protected include Instagram, Twitch and TikTok.
4 ways the union helps creators
- Advocating on behalf of the creators
- Working to create laws that will benefit their members
- Assisting with collective bargaining. This is a negotiation between an employer and a union, where they agree on the worker’s terms and conditions.
- Helping to settle payment disputes between creators and brands that hire them
Workplace protections for influencers
This development is noteworthy because it allows influencers to do their job with health and workplace stability. From an influencer’s point of view, there are many benefits. Nicole Ocran, an influencer and co-founder of The Creator Union (TCU) said, “Often, even well-known brands don’t allow influencers to negotiate fees, don’t offer a contract and don’t pay on time.
Critics of the new agreement
Not everyone is happy with the news. Among the many tweets about the news, one account said that it’s “not about protecting performers, this is a money grab.”
Some people are concerned about how this deal with affect annual SAG awards.
Another account proposed a new acting union.
How can influencers qualify?
Regardless of follower count, those who are paid to promote a brand on their personal accounts can join the union. That means you, the readers, could join one of the most influential unions in the United States. But there are a few caveats to the deal.
- The agreement only accepts influencers who produce video and audio content.
- The influencer cannot be in an advertising campaign for a company. There is a separate agreement for commercials.
- The influencer must be seen as a corporation. Also, health and pension plans depend on particular work requirements.
- They must have posts that were paid for by advertisers.
Do you think influencers should have SAG-AFTRA membership? Leave your comments below.