The largest entertainment worker union in the US, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is seeking to help pro wrestlers, the union’s president said.
Speaking to Spectrum Sports’ Jon Alba, union president Gabrielle Carteris said:
“Wrestling is as much about media as it is sports and we are going to directly engage with members of this profession to help find ways for them to protect themselves. As more people reinvest in unions and as more working people are harassed by employers who don’t want to protect them, SAG-AFTRA is committed to doing what we can to help professional wrestlers secure the protections they deserve.”
Following Zelina Vega’s release from WWE and her subsequent tweet saying, “I support unionization,” the president and the union’s Twitter account reached out to Vega.
So do we. https://t.co/kgTIrv0jdl
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) November 14, 2020
— Gabrielle Carteris (@TheGabrielle_C) November 14, 2020
The union represents over 100,000 movie and TV actors, TV hosts, announcers, singers and other entertainment workers and is one of the most powerful in the country, with collective bargaining agreements with most medium or large entertainment studios in the US.
Pro wrestlers are considered by WWE and other promotions to be “independent contractors” and are exempt from several worker benefits and labor laws. Despite considering them “independent contractors,” WWE has prevented wrestlers from gaining outside income from Twitch and other services, which ultimately was the cause of Vega’s release because of her fighting against WWE’s new policy.