Spring 2019

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42 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2019 | The reporter turned to their unit's shop steward, who reminded management that the contract allows her to refuse dangerous assignments. The steward also informed union staff, who immediately contacted management to ensure they fully understood. No broadcaster wants to refuse an assignment, but no one should be required to risk their life to get the story. In the controlled pandemonium of a newsroom, as journalists race to get the story first — and accurately — tunnel vision can sometimes blind people to the present dangers, whether it's taking unnecessary risks with their own lives or asking others to go out into potentially hazardous situations. That's the reason contracts contain strong safety provisions, and when management needs reminding, it can put reporters in a difficult situation. That's where shop stewards come in. ADVOCATES ON THE GROUND Shop stewards are your union's advocates on the ground when a co-worker has a workplace concern, whether it's an issue of workplace safety, vacation selection, disputes regarding pay or overtime, workload issues or any other workplace concern. They are member volunteers who act as leaders for their bargaining unit. As fellow members, they come with Member Volunteers Provide a Helping Hand at SAG-AFTRA Broadcast Stations ON THE SCENE WITH SHOP STEWARDS W hen a reporter was asked to cover an active-shooter situation alone late at night, they felt more than a bit uneasy. For a non-union reporter, it could have come down to a stark choice between risking their job or their life, but as a SAG-AFTRA member, they were fortunate to have recourse. GETTYIMAGES.COM

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