SAG-AFTRA on Friday told its members to stop working for Essential Audiobooks for “failing to pay performers.” The guild filed a grievance and then an arbitration, but says the company didn’t respond to communications from either the guild or the American Arbitration Association.
“Following a favorable award from the arbitrator, SAG-AFTRA filed for judgment in the Supreme Court of New York State and subsequently executed upon the judgment on Catherine O’Brien and Essential Audiobooks,” the guild said, noting that on May 5, it notified the audiobook producer that it was exercising its right under the contract to terminate its contract upon 90 days’ notice.
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O’Brien, the company’s CEO and editor-in-chief, is one of its featured readers on such titles as Little Women Pride and Prejudice and The Lost World. Deadline reached out to the company but its phone number is not in service.
“To date,” the guild says on its website, “there has been no response from Essential Audiobooks and the arbitration and subsequent court awards have not been satisfied. As such, with the unanimous support of the SAG-AFTRA Audiobook Steering Committee, the Executive Committee of the National Board of Directors has voted to issue a ‘Contract, No Work’ order against Essential Audiobooks, LLC.
“Therefore, SAG-AFTRA members are hereby informed that no member may accept work with this company until such time as its debts under the contract are paid in full, and a new contract is entered into between SAG-AFTRA and Essential Audiobooks, LLC, and that violation of such order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.”
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