Spring 2019

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Page 7 of 77 | Spring 2019 | SAG-AFTRA 5 A Letter from the Executive Vice President R E B E C C A D A M O N "The work before us is not to watch it happen and figure out how to adapt, but rather to lead change and help build that future." Dear Member, W hen Sir Francis Bacon expressed the sentiment "knowledge is power" in his Meditationes Sacrae in 1597, he probably wasn't thinking about union contracts. But the fact is, when we go to the negotiating table with employers, the outcome often depends on what we know before we even sit down. You may have noticed that some of the world's most prominent companies deal in data. From Google to Facebook, these firms are making money by predicting and influencing behavior. They use sophisticated analysis tools and machine learning to understand volumes of data and turn it into action. A similar approach gives SAG-AFTRA detailed knowledge about the state of the industry, as well as the trends that bear watching. But where the best-known tech companies leverage user data and technology to enrich their shareholders and executives, SAG-AFTRA uses these same tools to profit our members. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu also understand the power of information and jealously guard their own viewership data. That's why the union is working with firms such as 7Park Data Media and Entertainment, which can provide a window into the viewing data, helping negotiators build a complete economic picture of the work our members do. But it's not just data. Successful negotiations in the Information Era also require innovative thinking. A perfect example is the recently concluded Commercials Contracts agreements, which are now before members for ratification. By negotiating not just for the moment, but for the future, we were able to secure a new compensation model for commercials performers that aligns with how modern ads are shown and viewed. It provides financial benefits to members and, at the same time, encourages more advertisers to go union with their productions by offering them the flexibility they need. My gratitude to President and Negotiating Committee Chair Gabrielle Carteris, NED and Chief Negotiator David White, the committee and staff for their creative and bold approach to these contracts. But it isn't all just behind-the-scenes number-crunching. SAG-AFTRA is using tech tools to empower members. The SAG-AFTRA app, for instance, gives members instant access to contract information, news and ways to connect with staff — and we are working to add features such as the ability to securely log in with face or touch ID. These kinds of improvements are particularly important as the union looks to attract and engage younger members, because they expect this kind of functionality. We are also working to revamp the way members respond to and attend events. By converting the manual check-in process to an electronic one, the data will be easier to analyze, giving the union a clear picture of how we should deploy our resources to best serve members. The world is changing quickly, but it's an exciting time filled with opportunity. The work before us is not to watch it happen and figure out how to adapt, but rather to lead change and help build that future. Onward together, Rebecca Damon

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