Fall / Winter 2022

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12 SAG-AFTRA | Fall/Winter 2022 | A Letter from the Executive Vice President B E N W H I T E H A I R Fellow Members, T hank you. Yes, you. As we enter the holiday season, I am overcome with gratitude for each and every one of you. We are living in very trying times, and yet each of us — actors, singers, dancers, broadcasters, stunt performers and creatives of all types — have dedicated our lives and livelihoods to entertaining and educating our brothers, sisters and siblings across the globe. You are the union — SAG-AFTRA does not exist without you. My gratitude for our union was compounded when I met performers from all over the world at the International Federation of Actors (FIA) recently. It became clear that the structure, protections and support of SAG-AFTRA are unparalleled. We have, of course, a multitude of issues on our own turf. But even though we still struggle, it's important to remember that the hard work and dedication of SAG-AFTRA members, leaders and staff have created the most substantial and consequential artists union in the history of the performing arts. SAG-AFTRA, and all that we do, echoes across the globe, and when performers in other countries find themselves confronting substantial barriers created to prevent them from being a part of or forming a union, they look to us as an example of what can be achieved. It was incredibly heartening to connect with our sibling unions across the world and see firsthand how our global solidarity ensures that SAG-AFTRA members receive the protections and compensation they deserve when working overseas or when their content is distributed globally. Our foreign royalties program has secured tens of millions of dollars for our members, because no matter when or where you work, SAG-AFTRA makes sure you get paid. Period. The domestic and international challenges performers face are fierce, and the opposition is always ready to tear down progress. But, the economy needs our myriad skills — effective communication, storytelling and bringing to light stories that have often been invisible or erased. Our efforts to support these ideas are sustained and sincere, and, as we continue to lay new groundwork and guidelines for an ever-changing domestic and global marketplace, we must remain focused, vigilant and flexible. Creating and maintaining a healthy and vibrant union also means that each of us must engage beyond our personal circumstances and careers. Prior to the national election, SAG-AFTRA made voting rights a centerpiece of activism with a tremendous first meeting between union performers and NFL Players Association representatives. We also encouraged members to show up for issues that affect our communities, like Prop 28, which will put nearly $1 billion annually into K-12 California schools — the largest investment in educational arts in decades. Your participation is crucial when it comes to sustaining the union and keeping it focused on the future. So, please, I implore you to attend the wages and working conditions (W&W) meetings to give your feedback about what to tackle in our upcoming TV/Theatrical negotiations. Check your email for dates and details. Life and careers can be tough, but know that SAG-AFTRA is dedicated to providing the tools, information and support to all members. That's my mission, too, and in the coming months, with gratitude, I look forward to even more progress on the issues affecting you. In solidarity, Ben Whitehair "The hard work and dedication of SAG-AFTRA members, leaders and staff have created the most substantial and consequential artists union in the history of the performing arts."

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