Spring 2017

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Page 38 of 68 | Spring 2017 | SAG-AFTRA 37 "Direct deposit is a game-changer, not only for our members but for our industry," said President Gabrielle Carteris. She noted that SAG-AFTRA processes approximately 4 million residual checks a year. "The savings in man-hours is incredible and could have a ripple effect throughout our organization, as staff attention can now be diverted to other pressing matters affecting our membership." Carteris also made a point of thanking National Executive Director David White. "Because of David White's vision and his emphasis on meeting member priorities, we are starting a program that will fundamentally change how thousands of our members get paid. Residuals play an important role in the financial stability of SAG-AFTRA performers," Carteris added. "As performers, our salaries ebb and flow. That means every residual check is important for members to be able to pay their rent, mortgage or car payment." White said that reducing wait times for residuals has long been a top priority. "We recently got the window down to 30 days, that was a big improvement, and direct deposit will provide additional efficiencies," said White. "The staff who have worked on this have done an amazing job developing a payment system that will soon become the industry standard." The process is expected to work like this: Exactuals, a Los Angeles-based payments software company, will serve as a third-party broker to facilitate transmission of data and funds between the studios and payroll houses to SAG-AFTRA and its members. Processing of funds will be handled by Exactuals through City National, which will electronically transfer funds to member accounts at any checking account at a domestic bank. The service to SAG-AFTRA members will be free of charge. Direct deposit is already generating excitement among members participating in a beta test, and the union is hoping to begin the expansion of the service to members later this year. From left, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris; Martha Henderson, head of the Entertainment Division at City National; Mike Hurst, Exactuals CEO and co-founder; and SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White at SAG-AFTRA Plaza in Los Angeles to announce the union's direct deposit program in February. Get answers to frequently asked questions at Wired for Business D irect deposit isn't the only way SAG-AFTRA is using technology to improve the member experience. Over the last several months, the organization has unveiled a variety of initiatives that provide high-tech tools to members and those working with the union. This year, SAG-AFTRA rolled out a smartphone app that can put the union in a member's pocket. Whether it's checking residuals, reading the latest union news or checking on contracts, the information is only a few taps away. It's already become a hit with members, and more are downloading it every day. Read the story on page 34. The two-year revamp of the Member Care Contact Center paid off on May 16, 2016. With the debut of this new resource, members got an easy way to get answers, while freeing up union staff to be more responsive to other member needs. Another initiative, paperless billing, provides a more convenient way to pay dues and save money on postage — and it's environmentally friendly. On the industry side, technology is giving field reps new tools to report faster via tablets on set, a new online portal has been set up for agents (see page 20) and more is on the way. Using technology to make the union more nimble and efficient has been a top priority for National Executive Director David White. "In an increasingly technological world, it's important to provide members a variety of ways to engage with their union, as well as facilitating our interactions with industry partners. In everything we do, member service remains our top priority," he said. "The savings in man-hours is incredible … as staff attention can now be diverted to other pressing matters affecting our membership." — Gabrielle Carteris ROCCO CESELIN

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