Photo Flash: SAG-AFTRA Members Call for Fair Pay at Droga5 Headquarters
Sending a strong signal to ad industry leaders and the entire entertainment community, SAG-AFTRA members and supporters gathered today to call on Droga5, a leading digital ad producer with headquarters on Wall Street, to stand by its self-described "humanity-obsessed" values and stop undermining the industry standards that ensure commercial performers can earn a middle-class living. Despite repeated requests, Droga5 representatives refused to accept the petition or discuss the union's deep concerns.
"SAG-AFTRA went to Droga5 today and stood up to agencies that exploit performers by continuing the destructive practice of unfair pay," said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. "This event demonstrates the strength wielded by our members' united voice and the union's dedication to all performers who seek an acting career. There is no place in the growing, lucrative advertising industry for companies that undermine performer rights in the name of profit, and we'll continue to fight for fair wages, working conditions and benefits for all actors."
"SAG-AFTRA members simply went to drop off 8,000 petition names and talk with Droga5 today," said SAG-AFTRA New York Local President Mike Hodge, who led the event. "Instead of coming downstairs and looking us in the eye, Droga5 wouldn't accept the petition and the police were called. Today's action shows Droga5 we're not going away quietly and reminds them that treating hard-working performers in an equitable fashion and allowing them to earn a middle-class living is the right thing to do."
Armed with a petition signed by more than 8,000 SAG-AFTRA members and allies, union officers and members arrived at Droga5's offices in lower Manhattan demanding the digital ad agency pay fair wages and benefits to the performers hired for its productions. Droga5's current practice of paying actors substandard wages without benefits is unfair and exploits the often-struggling performers who take the jobs.
The petition delivery is just the latest piece in an ongoing initiative directed at the digital advertising industry. Today, SAG-AFTRA launched a digital takeover on The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Ad Week and Advertising Age websites to raise awareness of the unfair pay, no benefits and exploitation by Droga5 and other agencies. The digital takeover will be followed by full-page color print ads in several industry trade publications.
SAG-AFTRA is also running a social media campaign on the issue, using the hashtag #AdsGoUnion on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, which includes a variety of creative memes to rally its members and other allies to sign the petition. The social media campaign has already reached over one million impressions across the union's handles and comes on the heels of SAG-AFTRA members recording hundreds of voicemail messages that express hopeful interest in working with Droga5 in the future.
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.
Photo Credit: SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA members at the Droga5 office
SAG-AFTRA NY President Mike Hodge with staff being greeted by NYPD