Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

Making Non-union Jobs Union Jobs


By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 3, 2007

Comments (10)

Pat Fraley says that it can be done! To find out how you can turn a non-union job into a union job, read this post.

Avi Melman Interview with Pat FraleyAvi Melman's holiday podcast featured the illustrious Pat Fraley, voice actor, author, guru and all-around great guy.

While I was listening, something struck me. I'd never heard of this before, but upon closer examination, it makes perfect sense.

If someone offers you a job and states that it is 'non-union', you as a union talent can still take that job on by following a new formula, deemed kosher by the union.

For instance, Pat is a union player. A client offered him a job to voice a talking parrot. The job itself looked like it could cost about $500 to do, perhaps less.

Pat quoted $1000 and the client was fine with that, but insisted that the job he was offering to Pat was still non-union. No problem, says Mr. Fraley.

And why was it not a problem for Pat?

Although the job in the clients mind was still non-union, he was compliant regarding the higher fee and Pat was able to turn that job into a union job.

Here's how you can do it too:

By union ruling, you can turn a non-union job into a union job by taking the fee appropriate to a payroll company who tells you how much it's going to be and they act as a union signator. The job is thus unionized. The union gets paid, the agent gets paid, medicare gets paid, etc.

Rule of thumb: The fee needs to be 40% more than the AFTRA or SAG minimum for this formula to work. In other words, non-union jobs that pay lower may not qualify to be 'turned' into union jobs.

Thank you to Avi and Pat for entertaining us and for your insight :)



Related Topics: AFTRA, Non-Union



    Yes, this works. I've done this for years, especially with non-broadcast jobs.

    Be well,

    Posted by:

      This sounds like it works if you are a union member. If you are not a union member, can you make it work in your favor so that you can become a union member?

      Posted by:
      • Richard Mullen
      • January 5, 2007 6:18 PM

        Nah, it doesn't work that way. You earn your way into SAG by being "jobbed-in" or cast in a union gig.

        Once you have done that (once or twice or something--it just kind of depends on how dilligent the honchos are) you end up required to join in order to work on further SAG gigs.

        AFTRA is different because it covers people in wage-earning jobs, like radio announcers. You may simply join that union at any time.

        Posted by:


          I'd like to add one additional thought to my earlier comment. This technique does work, but it's really difficult to make it work for broadcast commercials because unless the client is willing to pay on-going residuals for running the commercial past the initial 13 weeks, the job won't conform to union regulations. Or the client could agree that the commercial would run for no more than 13 weeks.

          Be well,

          Posted by:

            Can this be done with ACTRA in Canada too?



            Posted by:
            • Jeff Teravainen
            • January 9, 2007 1:16 PM

              I am in a position to do this right now. Could anyone recommend a specific payroll service, and the specific process therein?


              Posted by:
              • Michelle Thorson
              • February 24, 2009 5:23 PM

                I am interested in know what payroll company to use as well. As a new member of Voices.com and a SAG actor, this is of particular interest. All the job postings I have seen so far are non union... and I'd like to start auditioning but am hesitant to do so for a non union job ...

                Posted by:

                  According to the SAG union rep i spoke to this is not true...

                  Posted by:
                  • Vivian
                  • December 16, 2011 3:52 PM

                    If I understand correctly about this technique, the union actor winds up doing the work for the payroll company who is a union signatory. The payroll company then collects from the non-union producer. Okay, I can see how that could work. Problem: I have been trying to find a payroll company who would do this. Where do we find one?

                    Posted by:

                      There are a lot of 'paymasters' for the union that will help people who are not represented. Here is one:


                      I'm not sure if that's local to the city but if it is, just do a google search.

                      Kind Regards,

                      Posted by:

Leave a Comment

Recent Articles

Does Practice Make Perfect? 4 Steps You'll Want to Follow!

Be Our Guest! Unless You Can't Make It - How to Record as if Your Co-Stars Are in the Room

Want to Create Sound? Check out some Foley in Zootopia!

New Features! File Management Made Easier at Voices.com

3 Common (Yet Avoidable) Audio Editing Oversights

Is the Role Right for You? 6 Ways to Know.

Want to Get Noticed? 3 Tips for Featuring Your Vocal Talent

5 Ways to Maximize Your Voice Acting Auditions

What's the #1 Secret Ingredient for Box Office Success?

How To Use Storytelling to Make Science More Accessible