Regardless if you're a background actor or an A-List actor, you make more money if you are in a union.
If not, you are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime earnings in the pockets of your boss.
Today, The Century Foundation released a new report on the prospects for using technology to help people join labor unions. You can read the full report here. Or, you can breeze through our highlights of the report, the numbers showing how much more money unionized workers in general make over a lifetime.
Basically, acting unions allow for workers to get more money generated from feature films, movies, TV shows and web series. Without an organized union like the SAG-AFTRA, the extra money goes to producers, studio executives, and managers at the top of a company, rather than the workers.
From the report
According to published reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median earnings for a two-income, nonunion family are $400 a week less than that of a union family. Over a lifetime, that adds up to more than a half million dollars in foregone wealth.
Even when one accounts for characteristics that can affect earnings other than unionization, such as education, experience, occupation, hours worked, marital status, having children, state of residence, and (unfortunately) sex, race, and citizenship—the gap between union and nonunion workers remains nearly as large. Among private-sector workers who are otherwise similar, union members have per hour earnings that are 27.6 percent greater, on average, than those of nonunion workers.
In addition, arts, entertainment and sports workers lose over $500,000 in lifetime earnings by not joining a union.
The fact that many background actors choose not to join the union means that they make less money than they could, and a large percentage of that money goes to relatively rich people who run the companies rather than the poor who people choose to do the work. If you want to change that, join the SAG-AFTRA
actor's union and organize.