Summer 2018

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12 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2018 | J A N E A U S T I N A Letter from the Secretary-Treasurer "We can remain vigilant while still being respectful and not hurting our fellow members. A union draws its strength from its members standing together in solidarity." My Fellow Brothers and Sisters, I was in San Diego for Comic-Con in July and was struck by how much things can change from one year to the next at one of the entertainment industry's premier showcases. Regular SDCC attendees would have noticed the subtle changes that were apparent in what films studios chose to promote, which performers attended — in costume and out — and the varied content of the panels. It reminded me how our industry is experiencing rapid change at a macro level. Not just in the culture, as we have moved to confront issues of harassment, discrimination and a lack of diversity, but in methods of production, distribution and consumption of content. All of that is changing how our members do their work and earn a living. For instance, animation performers are asking for scale wages and residuals for animated programs made for streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. It's an important issue because residuals are how many of our members have sustained themselves between jobs — and streaming services are increasingly the home of animation series. These performers need our support as they continue to negotiate with employers. We need to stand together, stay strong and fight for our collective rights without violating the rules. We can remain vigilant while still being respectful and not hurting our fellow members. A union draws its strength from its members standing together in solidarity. In fact, the purpose of Global Rule One is to create power and leverage, and it helps everyone secure a better future. There's no question that our bargaining power is amplified by our talent pool upholding agreed-upon industry standards. That's one lesson we hear from commercials performers, who are currently in the W&W process. Each of us should be inviting our colleagues and representatives to talk about the power of union members standing together in solidarity and the incredible benefits of union contracts. Together we win, which isn't easy in this environment. Unions are under threat from so- called "right-to-work" laws and even from the Supreme Court, whose ruling in Janus v. AFSCME was a blow to public sector unions. It could eventually have a wider impact, but this moment is also an opportunity for unions to unite in resolve and become stronger. That's the feeling I have heard relayed at the AFL-CIO and recent Los Angeles County Federation of Labor meetings. On the financial side, I'm happy to report that our expenses for the last fiscal year came in significantly under budget, while our actuals tracked higher than budget. That generated a surplus, which has been returned to the general fund. Investments have steadily been up and our financial health is more robust than ever for the coming year. Our positive financial health has made it possible to add additional staff, including field reps, contracts staff and enforcement personnel, to serve the membership. In other financial news, direct deposit of residuals will be deployed nationwide by the end of the year, so download your SAG-AFTRA member app. It has a handy tool for tracking your payments and empowering yourself. If you ever feel like you've received an incorrect payment, please contact the union's staff for assistance. The more vigilant we are as individuals, the stronger the union is collectively. In solidarity, Jane Austin

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