Fall 2014

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8 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2014 | A Letter from the President K E N H O WA R D "I firmly believe your input is necessary to help our union provide critical services to its members." Dear Member, A s your president, I've traveled throughout the country over the last several years and I've had the privilege of talking personally with thousands of you on sets, at auditions, at broadcast stations and at membership meetings. That has been a valuable and uplifting experience as we've discussed everything from how the contracts are working to the educational services the union offers for member engagement. Your feedback has been a driving force of a strategic planning initiative I've recently launched with National Executive Director David White. I firmly believe your input is necessary to help our union provide critical services to its members. Having achieved our strategic mission of merger and positioning our assets to maximize our leverage at the bargaining table, we can now pivot and reassess our points of strength and opportunity. To better address the various challenges we face in our rapidly evolving markets, a successful organization must be nimble and responsive. Therefore, I'm bringing together key elected leaders and senior staff to conduct a thorough analysis and to develop innovative ways to best fortify SAG-AFTRA for decades to come. After months of preparation, your union has just begun its third major contract negotiation of the year. The Network TV Code covers syndicated dramatic programs, daytime serials, promotional announcements, variety, quiz, game, reality, talk, news, sports and other non- dramatic programs. I am honored to chair this negotiating committee and we all benefit from the hard work of my terrific vice chairs, Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris and National Vice President, New York Mike Hodge. At our October plenary, the National Board unanimously supported a four- year extension of National Executive Director David White's contract. David's superb leadership has sped up residuals processing, further stabilized operations, and helped pave the way for advances in how members interface with the union. Along with your elected leadership, David's vision for the future will further strengthen SAG-AFTRA and enhance its standing as the world's premiere entertainment and media union. An extraordinary sense of camaraderie is growing in our professional community. Whether you're reporting from a war zone, performing in front of a green screen, bringing a scene to life as a background actor, recording an uplifting song or doing any of the other jobs our members perform, your fellow SAG-AFTRA members stand with you. As we work and move forward, it's always tough when we lose members from our professional family. From the recent passing of my friend, the legendary actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., to veteran stuntmen Bob Orrison and Gary McLarty, who died last month in a car accident, it is always difficult to say goodbye. And occasionally, the sadness hits even closer to home. It is with a heavy heart that I share the loss of two devoted SAG-AFTRA leaders. Sumi Haru was elected recording secretary and served as interim president for Screen Actors Guild. She served on the national and local boards of both of our predecessor unions. During her decades- long fight for social justice and equality for diverse performers, she co-founded the SAG Equal Employment Opportunities Committee. Marcia Strassman was a steadfast merger proponent. Over the years, she served on the SAG national and local boards and on numerous committees. She was smart, funny and delightful. The losses of Sumi and Marcia are painful to us all and we will miss them both. This holiday season, I encourage you to join me in thanking those who generously donate their time and energy in the service of others. My warmest wishes to you and your family for a safe and peaceful holiday. In unity, Ken Howard

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