Female Filmmaker Friday

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – What’s Fi-Core?

Rounding out my union series… Let’s talk fi-core. Financial Core allows employees to work in a union environment without becoming full members. It is a federal law and SAG has to play ball with it. Actors go Fi-Core for a lot of reasons, but the bottom line becomes: they can legally work non-union jobs. They do not have access to voting rights in SAG and they do not get screeners, but everything else still stands. According to SAG, you become a “fee paying non member” but you can still work union jobs. It’s weird. 

SAG obviously has a vested interest in making sure union actors do NOT go Fi-Core and there is a shitload of misinformation out there. So with as little overture as possible, here’s the deal:

Unions depend on their members to strengthen their bargaining position. If EVERYONE refuses to do their homework, can the teacher get mad? – that kind of thought process. If EVERYONE is union, producers HAVE to pay. But obviously not everyone is union, there’s a gatekeeping process, so you get your nonunion actors who then undermine SAG actors by saying: sure, we’ll work for less!

Ideal world, the nonunion actors are green; they’re not union simply because they have not earned their spot yet. Once they can join, they will join, thus strengthening the union’s position further.

But we live in the real world and that’s not how it works. A lot of actors choose to stay nonunion for a long, long time because there are jobs there — and they aren’t green actors anymore. So the union loses some strength. Other actors go fi-core to get more jobs (or whatever). And the union loses more strength. And eventually, the bargaining chip becomes: oh, you want these specific actors? the names, the big stars? okay, deal with the unionand it erodes the union’s middle class.

So, sure, you can go fi-core. It’s a personal choice you CAN make, legally, because the law says you can do it. You can also come back from it (you pay a reentry fee) if you decide you want to be SAG again. Again, that’s the law: they are legally required to permit your reentry. You lose a few “membership” rights, but not the big important stuff. You still get collective bargaining, you still get healthcare if you qualify. 

Sounds kinda sweet, right?


If you choose to go fi-core, it does hurt the union and all the actors in it. That’s really the biggest, most tangible drawback. 

So you have to ask yourself: do my needs supersede the needs of the collective? 

Big question.

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