Deadline New York is reporting that unions such as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and five other unions have instructed their members not to work on The Hobbit.
The site is reporting that the movie's producers refused to enter into union negotiations for cast and crew members, although they believe the situation may be resolved. Here's the statement released by the unions below:
The makers of feature film The Hobbit - to be shot in New Zealand next year - have refused to engage performers on union-negotiated agreements.
Members of Canadian Actors Equity, U.S. Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists are advised not to accept work on this non-union production.
If you are contacted to be engaged on The Hobbit please notify your union immediately.
The Hobbit and Engagement of Performers
For some years performers in New Zealand have struggled on non-union contracts. These contracts provide no minimum guarantees of wages or working conditions, no residual payments and no cancellation payments in the event the performer's contract is cancelled.
In 2006, at the request of New Zealand performers, the Australian union, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Alliance) opened an office in New Zealand.
Since that time the New Zealand branch of the Alliance has sought to negotiate with both individual producers and with the producers' association but to no avail.
The International Federation of Actors (FIA), of which the vast majority of performer unions around the world are members, resolved that the time had come for performers around the world to support their colleagues in New Zealand and seek a union contract for all performers on The Hobbit.
Who is FIA?
FIA represents performer unions in 100 countries around the world. Unions represented include the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Actors Equity, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), Canadian Actors Equity, Equity UK and the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance.
FIA's goal is to advance the interests of performers around the world.
What did FIA decide?
At a recent meeting FIA decided that the situation had persisted long enough and that it was time for action to be taken.
Consequently, FIA resolved as follows:
"Resolved, that the International Federation of Actors urges each of its affiliates to adopt instructions to their members that no member of any FIA affiliate will agree to act in the theatrical film The Hobbit until such time as the producer has entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance for production in New Zealand providing for satisfactory terms and conditions for all performers employed on the productions."
We'll be sure to keep you posted with any further news on The Hobbit as soon as we have more information.