Is it Time for Guild Member’s to Find Their Own Super Powers – The Case for Guild Inclusion Riders

Brava to Frances McDormand who left with her Oscar and two words: Inclusion Rider. Do we need a take 2? Should the phrase include the Guilds?

The “Inclusion Rider” concept was originally suggested by Stacey Smith in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter article and is a great start, but with all due respect, I ask that you also consider including one additional word – Guild.

Yes – A list talent should demand an inclusion rider, but let’s face reality. In this day and age, even A listers can and will be replaced by an up and coming person who is hungry to work and will not make any demands. There are many instances where producers have put A list talent on “ice” when they ask for more or stand up to producers. Why were the Guild’s born in the first place? Because the is real power is in a Union.

Don’t understand the power of a Union or solidarity? The next time you are in Starbucks, take a wooden coffee stirrer and try to break it. (It’s pretty easy to do). Now grab a hand full of those pieces of wood and try to break it. I bet you can’t – or at least it is very difficult to break.

There are big 3 Unions in this town, Director’s Guild, the Writer’s Guild and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA. Why can’t all three Hollywood Guilds – DGA, SAG/AFTRA and WGA, stand up and demand inclusion riders for all productions?

How can they do this? Currently the Guilds require Security Agreements to insure payment of residuals prior to the commencement of production. They could also require Inclusion Riders if they had the leadership in the Guild that demands this.

Indeed, SAG/AFTRA already contains an example of a rider in it’s collective bargaining agreement. Paragraph 43 of the agreement with Producer’s requires a “The Nudity Rider” when any nudity or sex acts are required of a performer in the role they are playing.

There is one small issue – the Guild Collective Bargaining Agreements with major Hollywood producers will not expire until July 2020. What does this mean?

Until 2020, the Guild leaders and executives will be able to say that they can’t do much to change the rules and the burden will rest on the shoulder’s of the A list talent to make changes.

What can be done in the meantime? Members of the Guild also have a major role to play in turning around Hollywood. They have the power to elect Guild President’s and Board members (who will hire Executive Directors) who can insist that the Inclusion Rider be included in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

To date, no major Hollywood Union has ever had a women Executive Director. The DGA had one women President, SAG/AFTRA has had 4 women Presidents including President Gabrielle Carteris, and WGA has had one female President.

The power is in the vote and hands of the Guild members who can decide who will represent them and whether an inclusion rider will be on the table in the next round of negotiations. Let’s hope the #metoo momentum is still a force in 2020; otherwise, it may be business as usual in Hollywood.