Fall / Winter 2021

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16 SAG-AFTRA | Fall/Winter 2021 | A Letter from the Secretary-Treasurer Fellow Members and Friends, T his is the first opportunity I've had to communicate with you since the election in September. I am incredibly proud and grateful that you have placed your faith and support in me for this critical position, secretary- treasurer. In the greatest turnout in recent years, members made their voices heard. My vote total was historic, the highest given to any candidate in a SAG-AFTRA national election in the past few cycles. I am humbled but resolute. I see you, I hear you and I need you to understand that my ability to deliver the results I promised and that you deserve will come only if I am able to have this sort of direct, transparent and regular exchange of information with all of you. To begin, when a secretary-treasurer first assumes office, there are a series of steps that must be taken. First, financial accounts and other relevant information is presented to me. This was a revealing deep dive into the fundamentals of our union's business. I trust and expect that my examination of our finances will deepen with each passing week. Second, I held several positive and productive meetings with Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto, who has characterized for me that SAG-AFTRA is on solid financial footing. She notes our level of cash on hand and she assesses that the organization's investments are sound. Ari relates that the union took intense and responsible steps during COVID to protect our assets, such as tightening our expense management, acquiring a PPP loan, and putting in place dues payment options for members during the early months of the pandemic. The union was protected in this way. I am gratified to have just worked with President Drescher and the Executive Committee to see that this dues help measure was extended as our members get fully back to work. It's worth noting that the union has invested in enhancements and upgrades to technical infrastructure and processes to help modernize and improve staff's ability to support the membership. The process of bringing staff back into offices is evolving slowly. As I said often throughout the campaign, I remain laser-focused on the crisis within our health care plan and am equally eager to begin evaluating the solvency of our pension plans. As my mother before me, Connie Stevens (legacy SAG secretary-treasurer) attempted to do, I am determined that the union finally purchase its own building. Every other union in our industry — DGA, AEA, WGA, IATSE, the Teamsters, and even the SAG-AFTRA Health and Pension Plans — own real estate. I am hopeful that my fellow leaders will keep an open mind in considering this approach. When President Drescher asked how I wanted to be most effective, I told her that my sitting on the 2023 TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee will be vital. I'm excited to work with her and the team she assembles. As a member of that committee and in my role as secretary- treasurer, I will tirelessly maintain that we must raise the employer contributions to our health and pension plans. While difficult to explain in a sentence, we know that this negotiating point is the single greatest barrier we face to the lasting financial progress of our benefit plans. Members, thank you for taking some time to read this message. Your attention to this detail and your interest in how things are going is what will make our union strong and allow me to be effective on your behalf. Your safety on set, appropriate compensation and profit participation, commitment to diversity and inclusion in hiring, gold- standard health care and a pension upon retirement … this is what I will fight for now that I get a seat at the table. Finally, I must express how much I miss my friend and mentor Ed Asner, who was a stalwart union man. He relentlessly fought for members until the end. He was a big-hearted man and a Hollywood legend, whose legacy will forever live on. Recently, we also lost another great unionist, Bob Carlson. His prescience is a constant reminder that "He best serves himself who serves others." In service and solidarity, Joely Fisher J O E LY F I S H E R "Your interest in how things are going is what will make our union strong and allow me to be effective on your behalf."

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