Summer 2022

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8 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2022 | A Letter from the Executive Vice President B E N W H I T E H A I R Dear Members, L et's talk about self-taping. Since the start of the pandemic, self-taping has continued to ramp up, and has become a routine part of an actor's life. But just because the practice has become widespread, doesn't mean we need to accept the sometimes-ludicrous requests. I empathize with members' frustration with the extra work required of self- tapes. I understand the challenge of getting last-minute self-tape requests, having to find a reader and submit something in a short amount of time — and the occasional request to tape an unreasonably large number of pages. But it's important to realize that the contracts we enter into with employers last a period of years before we renegotiate them. In between negotiations, the union needs to hear from you. We must understand your needs and the importance you place on specific provisions, so that we can negotiate the contracts that best serve you during the give-and-take of the negotiation process. Having informed, engaged members translates directly into better contracts. That process played out in our recently ratified Commercials Contracts. SAG-AFTRA commercial performers now have protections against being asked to do unsafe activities, film at multiple locations, or change angles; and they must get their sides 24 hours in advance. It's the same way we got protections for traditional auditions, and we are now set up with a possible blueprint for future contracts. Zooming out to the larger labor movement, last month I co-led the SAG-AFTRA delegation at the AFL-CIO's 29th constitutional convention in Philadelphia (see story page 46). The convention underscored the awesome power of collective action, and highlighted how SAG-AFTRA advocates for members at every level — from broad national and state issues to members' detailed workplace concerns. At the convention, we successfully advanced strongly worded joint resolutions on issues that have a tangible impact on our members' lives, including supporting our recording artists' right to be fairly compensated for their work, encouraging the use of union workers and safety for broadcasters. Having committed allies on these initiatives is critical, and is what union solidarity is all about. Solidarity with each other is imperative as well, so once again I have an ask to enhance our collective strength and maintain our relevance and credibility with producers/employers: STAY ACTIVE IN YOUR UNION, and participate in all or some of the following union initiatives: • Read your emails. The union lets members know about career-enhancing workshops, upcoming contract negotiations, legislative action alerts and so much more. • Listen to the podcast. The podcast taps into a remarkable array of subject-matter experts who take a deep-dive into the myriad challenges we face in our industry. It's engaging and informative — and I'm not just saying that because I'm one of the hosts! • Subscribe to our videos on our YouTube channel, sagaftra. There you'll find instructional videos, interviews and replays of union panels and events. • If you prefer your information in bite-sized chunks, follow SAG-AFTRA's social media accounts on your platform of choice. • Download the SAG-AFTRA app, which has a wealth of useful functions. I've recently been on network TV and commercials sets, and both times I was able to ensure that my fellow performers and I were adequately protected and properly paid. From set, I called the union to confirm what to look for on our contracts. Separately, a fellow member had been misinformed about streaming residuals, and I assured her that we are, of course, paid residuals for streaming content. So please, have these kinds of conversations and share information. Know your contracts. And call your union with questions. The more we understand — and the better we help each other understand — the better off we will all be. In unity, Ben Whitehair "Your union is a democratic institution, and like any organization run by its members, it functions best when people are well informed and willing to participate."

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