Fall / Winter 2021

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18 SAG-AFTRA | Fall/Winter 2021 | A Letter from the National Executive Director Dear Member, W e must always remember that every major achievement of this union has been hard- fought, with victories coming over almost 90 years of organizing, bargaining, advocacy, and, crucially, working together to achieve those goals. As we move beyond our recent fifth biennial convention into 2022 and beyond, I am confident that we are well positioned to use our power and leverage to take SAG-AFTRA to greater heights, overcoming the many and diverse challenges our members and our union face. We are keenly focused on seeing the downside and the upside of the technological revolution. The technology itself is neutral; it's the way the tech is used that drives its impact, for good or evil. It's not always possible to foresee the quick and unpredictable changes in technology, but by being constantly vigilant and proactive, we can shape that impact to the benefit of SAG-AFTRA members. On the upside, deploying tech-driven data has strengthened our organizing and contract enforcement efforts. Our member-centric apps have meant streamlined member service experiences, real-time tracking of residuals and a tool aimed at stamping out the scourge of sexual harassment and supporting our member survivors. Soon, the deployment of our producer portal will make it easier for producers to stand up productions and get members working quickly. On the other hand, technology is posing direct challenges to performers' livelihoods, whether it's the threat of losing control over their images through "deepfakes" or the direct-to-streaming trend that affects performers' income when it is tied to box office revenue. Our strategy is built around wisely taking on such threats — at a time and in a manner most advantageous to leveraging our power. No person or union can achieve success in isolation. We are expanding our alliances. Our bonds with our sister unions and guilds, forged through the crucible of the pandemic, have never been stronger. Our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts have solidified ties with a broad range of organizations. Our organizing efforts have been intensified partly through stronger, or new, relationships with like-minded organizations. Accomplishing these goals requires a partnership between members, especially the member leadership, and the union's staff. I am very proud of the extraordinary staff team that wins victories every day, large and small, for our members. Their determination and expertise has never been more evident than it was during the pandemic's worst days. Our essential workers, the SAG-AFTRA first responders, kept working to make sure our members on set or in the field would be safe, and that residuals checks continued to reach the members who needed them more than ever. They kept members safe and they kept the checks flowing — at a robust pace of 100,000 per week — so people could pay their bills. Our staff worked with members and other unions to help build an industrywide response to get members back to work safely, with protocols that have been widely lauded as the gold standard for any industry. The gains we have achieved in the past, and which we will achieve despite future trials and tribulations, are the sole result of the collective power of our members standing together in unity. As a democracy, we must cherish debate and dissent about our path forward. Once the discussion is done, voices have been heard, and we have come to a decision, we must proceed in unity and speaking with one voice. It's the only way we can deploy the power we need to ensure that we can accomplish our goals despite the opposition of mega-corporations and industry interests. We need you because the union doesn't exist without you. You are the union. With the members standing together, we can and will achieve extraordinary things. Standing strong together, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland D U N C A N C R A B T R E E - I R E L A N D "Our bonds with our sister unions and guilds, forged through the crucible of the pandemic, have never been stronger."

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