Fall 2019

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8 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2019 | A Letter from the Executive Vice President R E B E C C A D A M O N "When you engage communities and enfranchise people to be involved in their outcomes, you build better societies — and the same can be said of our union." Dear Member, A revolution is happening at your union. As our industry is undergoing a sea change, so is SAG-AFTRA. Of course it doesn't happen all at once, but from time to time there are notable milestones that mark significant steps toward helping shape the future of SAG-AFTRA. One such event occurred at the National Board meeting in October. President Gabrielle Carteris recommended the creation of two new national committees: the NextGen Performers Committee and the Innovation & New Technology Committee, which I am honored to chair. These national committees reflect the importance of managing the effects of technological change on our livelihoods and engaging younger members, who will be tomorrow's union leaders. SAG-AFTRA leadership has invested a good amount of time and energy on both of these issues in the past, but in forming these committees, we are throwing the full force of the union's resources and commitment behind them. In order to be successful, we have to work faster and more strategically than ever before, and member involvement, equipped with cutting-edge technology, are the keys to our revolution. To gain a deeper understanding of the evolving technological landscape and how it will affect our work, your leadership and staff have visited CES, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Google and, most recently, I had the privilege of talking with key faculty while visiting the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. We've seen nanotechnology, exoskeletons for people with spinal injuries, artificial intelligence, face and voice recognition, and much more. All of these will impact our industries and others, often in unforeseen ways. It's our job to not only understand these advances, but to navigate this future with a bold vision. Already the impacts are enormous: Streaming, self-taping, multimedia journalism, performance capture, digital image and voice rights, and the use of social media as a brand-builder — not to mention the effect on our contracts and the way we enforce them. It all requires that we engage with employers, lawmakers, industry partners, other unions and each other. I have been thinking a lot lately about how societies work, and the parallels to the working of our union. When you engage communities and enfranchise people to be involved in their outcomes, you build better societies — and the same can be said of our union. We have been reaching out in new and creative ways, increasingly utilizing video, social media, podcasts, digital magazines and more. We're redoubling our commitment for members to have additional access points for communicating with, and hearing from, your union. These tools give us a competitive edge and equip us for success, but the heart of our union beats in every one of you, and our future will be what we make it. Lastly, I'd like to congratulate President Carteris on her re-election, as well as our new secretary-treasurer, Camryn Manheim, and all of our vice presidents, board members and delegates on their election. I am excited to work with them — and you — to make the revolution happen! Onward together, Rebecca Damon

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