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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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Were producing a film in Michigan state. Would like an attorney

Customer Question

We're producing a film in Michigan state. Would like an attorney to negotiate
a deal with the local IATSE - a film labor union. Can you suggest some in MI area? Thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to answer your question.

We are not permitted to refer JustAnswer.com customers to any specific attorney or law firm, but I can provide you with some online sources to find an experienced and reputable local attorney.

Please let me know if that would suffice?

Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Alex,


RU familiar with the film union negotiations? If so, I'll ask you a couple of questions, then, a referral to a website will be helpful.

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

I am familiar with business dealings and negotiations related to films and film unions, so if you can let me know what your specific situation and question is, I will do my best to answer your question.

Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We were shooting a film on West Coast. Unions showed up.


We agreed to go union - but, cut down on the shoot weeks.


We had a handshake agreement, to be signed in a couple


of days. Union agreed that we could shoot the next two days


if the crew likes. But, union showed up and gave a call for


strike and shut down the shoot.


 


Now, we're trying to resurrect our project in MI. But, the


LA unions are after us - influencing the MI unions to


neck us back to LA to make a deal. Or else, the MI


unions won't consider making a deal with us.


 


Is this legal to do? MI being a right-to-work state,


can't we just go non-union?


 


Thanks.


Best.

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Are you using any DAG-AFTRA actors in your movie production?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. We're not using any SAG-AFTRA actors.


All non-union actors.

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Are you filming a short film?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We're filming a feature film. We have at least 30 days of shoot.


 

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

I will opt out at no charge at this point and will transfer your question to JustAnswer.com employment category, since it appears you question is directly related to the employment aspect of the film industry.

Thank you.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. A different contributor here. Please permit me to assist you further.

From what I understand after I read your facts, there is nothing but a 'handshake' deal that fell through. You never formally agreed on union work, and you obtained MI licenses to film locally. Do I understand correctly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We didn't obtain licenses to film in MI. We're planning to shoot in MI.


To avoid the unions coming in and messing with our shoot, we wanted


to proactively make a deal with the local union. At first, they welcomed.


Just before our meeting, they got calls from CA chapter. Now, MI union


is demanding that we should go back to CA to sign the deal which


fell through - where our crew went on strike. We don't find any basis for such a demand since we never walked away - in fact, the crew walked on us


in CA.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your follow-up.

There is no formal obligation on your part to force or compel you to work with the unions. Filming by an independent studio does not require union participation, approval, or consent. You are free to hire non-union employees and shoot directly. While the union could arguably picket the site, they cannot shut you down, close the set, or directly affect production. In this instance you do not need the union, and you can work directly with those who choose to be 'at-will' employees.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks a lot. Appreciate your advice.


Best.


 

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 3 years ago.

You are most welcome, truly! Glad to help.

If you found my information to be useful, please do not forget to positively rate my answers to you as that is the only way I get paid for my work. Thank you again, and should you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask for my by name. Take care.

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