Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Granddad of Hollywood Entertainment Unions

Eight-three years ago this week - A group of actors met in secret at Frank (The Wizard of Oz) Morgan' house and formed the Screen Actors Guild. The secrecy was because studios threatened to blacklist anyone who so much as breathed the word "union."

Among the founding members that night were James Cagney, Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Franchot Tone, Frederic March, Robert Montgomery and Boris Karloff. ...

This meeting (there had been others) turned out to be critical. High profile actors had joined the cause, and inside of a month SAG's membership expanded from 80 to 4000.

Even so, there was no immediate recognition from the studios. It took another four years, the passage of the National Labor Relations Act, and more agitation from on-screen talent before studios finally, grudgingly, agreed to sit down and negotiate the first contract with SAG in 1937.

Decades would pass before significant health, pension and residual benefits were negotiated into SAG collective barganing agreements.

(h/t Tom Sito)


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