I think a lot of people start off as nonunion, and have to deal with agencies and people who may or may not be legit. How does one find this out? What rights does a nonunion person have when taking a gig and then they don't get paid?
They have no protection.
That's why the goal is to be union so you can be protected.
No one starts off in the union. You have to gain waivers and save money to get in. It's a running joke that you don't need talent to get in the union. And yes, it's no secret that the union is there for a reason, to protect one's rights when they get a job. The union is not there to guarantee or create a job for us.
In NYC, there is such a thing as small claims court. Some questions have come up about payment when a service is provided.
There is information circulating about something called a notice to cure. If a person provides a service, and does not get payment received within a certain amount of time (30, 60 or 90 days), then one can pursue small claims.
It's not unheard of, though a lot of people may feel queasy or scared about going to court for fear of being blacklisted or just out of being scared, period.
There's so much misinformation, partial truths, and outright lies, that I think it would be a great idea to start something called NON UNION - what to expect? And it would be a valuable resource -- because not all of us can join two weeks after deciding to become an actor. Just saying.
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