SAG-AFTRA announced that it has shut down Executive Media Services Inc. ​(EMS) as part of its continuing efforts to crack down on “signatory service” companies to the Commercials Contracts that masquerade as the employers of talent.  

Earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA launched an investigation into several such signatory service companies, examining whether these firms are bona fide employers or merely posing as such. The investigation concluded that EMS, one of the largest “signatory service” companies signed to the union’s Commercials Contracts, had falsely represented itself as a company that actually supervises employees. 

Following the investigation, SAG-AFTRA revoked the signatory status of EMS in August. Now, without the ability to access professional union talent, EMS is ceasing operations under the Commercials Contracts.

“We will not countenance companies that claim to act as employers, but really aren’t,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “The union is reconsidering its relationship with all signatory service companies to the Commercials Contracts that are not in fact real employers, and will determine if there is any role for these entities in the future.” 

“Some entities may be masquerading as the employer of performers on commercials and providing signatory services for a fee and if so, we will be cracking down,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “Indeed, we question whether any signatory service company is the real employer of SAG-AFTRA performers.”

SAG-AFTRA must have a direct relationship with only bona fide employers to ensure that it can enforce the protections required by the union contract. This includes ensuring that the employer creates a safe work environment, uses the actor’s performance in a responsible manner, and properly pays wages and health and pension contributions.

Several other companies that were under investigation, including CMC Forecast, Waving Cat, Talent Solutions and Talent Direct, remain under heightened review.

“The union is moving to curb the inappropriate use of these signatory service companies, implementing tighter restrictions, launching investigations and now revoking EMS’ signatory status. But these enforcement efforts may not be enough,” said SAG-AFTRA Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez. 

The union is set to negotiate the new Commercials Contracts with the advertisers and ad agencies in 2019 and is determined to secure direct relationships only with the actual employers of its members.  

DISCLAIMER: The company in question here is unrelated to Entertainment Media Specialists Payroll (EMS Payroll).

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. A proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO, SAG-AFTRA has national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide representing members working together to secure the strongest protections for entertainment and media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at