Spring 2021

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6 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2021 | G A B R I E L L E C A R T E R I S "We have the opportunity to continue strengthening and building on the success of the merger through your efforts and advocacy." Dear Member, M any of you have heard me say, "Our strength is in our unity." is has never been more evident than at this moment, as we emerge intact and strong from a once- in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Unity, collaboration and hard work — all helped ensure a profoundly positive future for SAG-AFTRA and our members. This past month was the ninth anniversary of SAG-AFTRA's merger. I would not normally mark the ninth anniversary, but this has been an incredibly challenging year filled with pain and loss. How will we move from this moment? We have the opportunity to continue strengthening and building on the success of the merger through your efforts and advocacy, not by looking back to what was, but forward, to renew and be even better. That is why our advocacy for the American Rescue Plan was so important. It delivered much-needed economic support to members impacted by the pandemic. Through our work at the federal level, we successfully guaranteed mixed earners received full relief and 100% COBRA coverage — because we leaned into our partnership with the labor movement and other allies. Throughout this past year, our organizing efforts in public media, audiobooks, voiceover, micro-budget production and the influencer space have helped build and strengthen the union, not only for today, but for future generations. Our contracts have sustained careers for many years. However, in some ways, they still reflect an entertainment world of just three television networks. Gone are the norms of 22 to 26 episodes a year. Today, many streaming series shoot six to 13 episodes a season, withholding subsequent seasons for up to 2½ years. This practice has begun to result in onerous options and exclusivity requirements, often blocking actors and recording artists from working for anyone else and depriving individuals of the ability to make a real living. That is why we are supporting the Free Artists from Industry Restrictions (FAIR) Act in the California Legislature. The bill updates the California labor code to prohibit unfair options and exclusivity provisions in personal services contracts. As you have helped with other important initiatives, please sign on to support the FAIR Act at As always, it is the collective that gives us power. It is also the collective that allows us to take the necessary action on more inclusive practices throughout the industry. Following SAG-AFTRA's Stop the Hate Week summit (read more on page 50), the National Board approved a Diversity Action Plan with numerous initiatives aimed at ending discrimination and encouraging greater representation, inclusion and accessibility, as well as equity for all (read more on page 16). However, to have true inclusion and equity, members must feel safe and empowered. We are launching two initiatives to provide additional support to members. First is our sexual harassment reporting app, which gives members access to safe, confidential and even anonymous reporting of sexual harassment and assault. Filled with other resources and referrals to supportive organizations, the app helps survivors navigate their individual experiences. The second initiative is the launch of intimacy coordination training and certification requirements, representing the next step in the development of this crucial profession. Through the terrific work of our intimacy coordinators workgroup, we are poised to help position and grow this important role. Thank you for using your voices to empower SAG-AFTRA and its membership through the pandemic. As Maya Angelou stated so beautifully, "You may not control all of the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." As always, strength in unity, Gabrielle Carteris

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