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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Since 1983
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Union Financial Core question. (Please let me know if you're

Customer Question

Union Financial Core question. (Please let me know if you're the proper category of attorney for this question).I belong to the SAG-AFTRA union and need to do a non-union job. I can find lots of opinions, but no actual case law....Common sense seems to be that "financial core" means the financial core OF the union, and that non-members don't pay dues or have any connection to unions.Yet some are urging me to RESIGN (in writing) from my union.I would greatly prefer to invoke financial core status without resigning.All the cases I can find seem to address non-union members, not union members.Please let me know if there's any precedent for a union member going financial core and remaining part of the union... or perhaps this is something yet to be put to the test? Thank you.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 8 months ago.


The "financial core" doctrine "permits an employer and a union[2] to enter into an agreement requiring all employees to become union members as a condition of continued employment, but the 'membership' that may be so required has been 'whittled down to its financial core.'" NLRB v. General Motors Corp., 373 U. S. 734, 742 (1963).

You seem to be trying to invert the legal doctrine, so that you can work in nonunion employment while retaining union membership. This is not the purpose of the doctrine. The doctrine is intended to permit workers to maintain employment in a union shop, without forcing the employees to submit to the requirements of union membership beyond that of paying membership dues.

So, I think you may be on the wrong legal track.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you very much, but I don't think you've answered my question. I tried to address this in advance.Though the case law may only pertain to nonunion members wishing to work in a union shop, the battle lines have nevertheless already been drawn around the concept of financial core.. by the actors unions, and notable union actors from Charlton Heston to Mark Mcintire alike.I'm asking for a definitive answer I can use in a legal battle. As a union member, can I invoke financial core status as many other union members have, without resigning from the union... claiming in essence that the union is misinterpreting the law by saying that fi-core means resigning and becoming a "dues paying nonmember" (which doesn't make sense).
Expert:  socrateaser replied 8 months ago.

I will reopen the question for others to try to assist. Best of luck with your legal dilemma and thanks for using Justanswer!

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. I look forward to more help from JustAnswer tomorrow.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
SAG-AFTRA uses Fi-Core technically as a way for a union member to work non-union productions. However, the member still has to maintain paying their union Fi-Core fees for the basic SAG benefits they maintain for the member. SAG considers Fi-Core to be scabs and taking non-union jobs instead of forcing unions into those jobs. In order for a Fi-core member to return to SAG they have to apply for reinstatement and be voted on.
So, the union is right, you pay dues to SAG to maintain your previous benefits and upon completion of your non-union job you can return to SAG membership if they vote to allow you back in when you reapply.
If your resign from the union completely, then you would have to start back at the beginning as a new member to rejoin.
There is no case law at all stating that this is impermissible and the NLRB has nothing that prohibits this type of set up.
Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page , as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. I just need a little more clarity. I would like to temporarily invoke my financial core status without resigning. I'm happy to pay dues throughout.Is there any law, case law or precedent for or against this?The union claims one has to resign and become a "dues paying non-member," but I think they are just taking this stance to suit their purposes.(By definition, nonmembers don't belong to unions or pay dues. Also by definition, "financial core" means the financial core OF the union).Please let me know if you think I can enable my financial core status with resigning my membership, and if there's any applicable law. Everything I can find seems to pertain to nonunion members who want to work a union job, not the reverse.Thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your reply
There is no case law on this, this is a union procedure and you are using a common sense definition of Financial Core, but that is not what it means in union terms. You have to apply to be a Fi-Core and it stops your membership, but holds your place in the union to allow you to be reinstated later.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. Let me give this another try. I guess I'm looking for an interpretation aside from the union.Like Beck, GM and others, I don't want to necessarily just rely on what the union wants or thinks. I believe I have rights within and without their procedures.I believe I have the right to invoke financial core status without "applying" for it?I think the union can try to "stop" my membership and call it "resigning," but I don't think they have any "proof" or precedent of this position?"Holding my place in the union" seems to indicate I have one, that is, I'm not out of the union, I haven't resigned, quit, fully resigned etc.?Let me phrase the question this way: If I invoke my financial core status, not resign (from my point of view) and the union tries to negatively impact me, do you think an attorney could mount a case in my favor?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I actually handle management side labor cases against unions, I am not a friend of unions.
The union rules are that if you want Fin-core then you have to play by the union's rules. What the union is doing is not illegal and this is part of their union rules and policies.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. I appreciate your time and effort. Could you please refer me to a different expert if you don't mind, perhaps an entertainment attorney?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
I will opt out, you already had one of the best attorney's on this site opt out, I will do so as well. Good luck to you.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I still don't have a response. Let me try to help by asking the question in a different way:The SAG union now claims that one has to RESIGN as a member to invoke their financial core status. Is this true? That is, is it legal, based on precedent, or is it just a position they're taking to suit their purposes?All of the case law I can find doesn't actually apply -- it's for a NONUNION member who wishes to work in a union shop. Not the reverse. And, a lot of the union language is fuzzy or nonsensical, like "dues paying nonmember."I'm a union member. I wish to JUST temporarily invoke my financial core status WITHOUT resigning.Is it that this hasn't been legally tested yet in a court case?
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 8 months ago.

New Expert here.

What type of project are you think about working on?

"Global Rule One may not apply to members for certain productions under unique circumstances. Such instances must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by SAG and only after careful analysis of a particular production."


Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 8 months ago.


"It should be noted, however, that SAG’s rule applies to principal actors but apparently does not extend to background actors, a large group of the Guild’s membership that were absorbed into SAG when it took over the ailing Screen Extras Guild years ago."

Were you previously a SEG member? Are you credited as a principal in other SAG/AFTRA productions?

I'm looking for a loophole, and you are correct there do not appear to be any court cases that even mention Global Rule One.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. I appreciate searching for a "loophole," but my question is are the union rules legally valid in the first place, or is it just a position they're taking? It's never been challenged in court, correct? The case law seems to apply only to nonmembers wishing to work on a union job. It doesn't seem to say anything about a union member who needs to work a nonunion job. So my question is, can a union member work on a nonunion job as long as he keeps paying his dues and the rest of the financial core of his union?Or can the case law be legally applied as the union is doing? "Dues paying nonmember" doesn't seem to make sense. Nor does "financial core" which seems to suggest the financial core OF the union. The rest of the language is fuzzy too. Terms like "full" member and "holding one's place in the union" are thrown around, as if one is still partially a member and still has a place in the union.

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