How do they get away with hiring non-union actors on a SAG project? When filming a ULB (ultra low budget) project, there is no requirement that all actors are union. They can pay less in salaries and extras, there are no extra payroll processing fees, FICA, pension or health benefits. There is nothing the union can do about it, either.
Actors are the ones who lose out. They can’t gain union status when working outside the union. They earn less in pay and may be required to work overtime without compensation.
Read more about it here.