Fall 2012

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A Letter from the Executive Vice President NED VAUGHN "Elections provide an invaluable chance for people to take stock of their direction and take action, just as SAG-AFTRA members did this spring." Dear Member, words, they referred to the decision members were being asked to make about merging SAG and AFTRA. The result was a powerful action that changed our direction by bringing two unions together as one. Now, most SAG-AFTRA members face Y ou have an important choice to make. The last time I wrote those another important choice. While we may identify strongly as union members, most of us define ourselves first in other ways. We are actors, performers, broadcasters and recording artists. But even before that, we are members of families, and perhaps religious communities. We are citizens of our states and towns. And most of us are Americans (with acknowledgement to many valued SAG-AFTRA members who are not). Americans are now being asked to who supports or opposes them instead of the underlying merits. Both are poor ways to evaluate important choices. Elections provide an invaluable chance for people to take stock of their direction and take action, just as SAG-AFTRA members did this spring. Aſter years of our work becoming more divided, SAG and AFTRA members looked at the big picture and didn't like what they saw. Their real-world experience told them the situation just wasn't working, and they couldn't see that direction leading to a stronger future. So they voted accordingly and made a historic change. The upcoming national, state and provides the foundation for our work and our standard of living. No industry is immune to a struggling economy, even a traditionally resilient industry like ours. The upcoming elections will offer distinct choices for dealing with the fundamental economic issues we face, and our decisions will determine our future direction. Just as I have encouraged you to take decide the direction of our country. We need to make important decisions about the direction of our state and local governments as well. I emphasize "direction" because election campaigns too oſten focus on trivial personal aspects of the candidates, and ballot measures are frequently evaluated simply on the basis of 8 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2012 | local elections will affect us all, even as union members. You may be able to elect candidates who promote production incentives that will increase SAG-AFTRA job opportunities in your area. Or perhaps you can vote for representatives who support strong intellectual property rights and tougher laws to fight the digital content theſt that steals money from our pockets. These are just a couple of issues that directly impact SAG-AFTRA members. But even in a broader context, the fall elections matter a great deal. Just as bargaining strength is the foundation of union protections, the economic health of our country (and states and cities) part in important union decisions, I urge you to make your voice heard on Nov. 6 — because that action is ultimately connected. Like our successful merger referendum, the November elections are an opportunity to take stock. Are you satisfied with the way things are going? Does your real-world experience tell you we are headed in the right direction, one that will lead to a stronger future? Should we stay the course or is it time for new leadership? Answering these questions can help each of us reach our own best decisions and then take action, by exercising our cherished right to vote. Onward together, Ned Vaughn

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