Summer 2010

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Page 9 of 39

A LETTER TO MEMBERS From National Executive Director DAVID WHITE Dear Member, I t will come as no surprise to hear that I, and the rest of your staff, have been focused on preparations for negotiations, which begin in the fall. Across the country, during our Joint Wages and Working Committee meetings, Screen Actors Guild members have deliberated on a full range of challenges that you face each day as performers in a changing industry. Working side by side with members of AFTRA (many of you wearing two hats, with shared membership), members were able to translate your concerns into thoughtful suggestions for improvement and, ultimately, potential bargaining proposals. Te joint W&W process has now concluded, and I am quite pleased to report that the atmosphere was cooperative, respectful and entirely focused on the collective good of our memberships. Both unions were well served by committee leadership, your fellow members and our staff. What happens next involves a number of steps. First, at the plenary meeting in late August (officially known as the “Joint Wages & Working Conditions Plenary”), the Joint SAG and AFTRA Negotiating Committee will review and drill into the details of the proposals from each of the W&W groups. Te committee will then decide on a final package of proposals to recommend to the governing bodies of the unions as our official bargaining proposals. In September, the set of bargaining proposals will be presented to the Joint National Boards of Directors of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA for final approval. Aſter all of this, we then will sit across the table with our employers and begin negotiations. Further details on the Wages and Working Conditions process are included in the W&W story on page 10 and more information regarding our negotiations preparations and priorities will be provided in the coming weeks. Many other projects are in the works as well. We are fully engaged in the effort to automate our residuals checks processing program, which will dramatically improve our ability to get your checks out more rapidly. Historically, this has been an entirely manual process. By automating it as much as possible, we can then deploy our staff in other areas where their skills and attention are more effectively utilized. Te Guild’s Residuals Department handles more than 2 million checks every year and speeding up the processing time is a top priority for the organization. Further strengthening our foundation is another operational priority for the Guild. As I wrote to you shortly aſter re-joining the Guild in 2009, we needed to become more fiscally responsible. Working with our senior executive team, and indeed with the help of the entire staff and elected leadership, we have instituted a new vision of fiscal responsibility and a strict expense reduction program. Tese measures challenged every staff member to “do more with less” while maintaining our high standard of member service. Tis effort has produced real, measurable progress, including a return to a budget surplus this year. Although we will continue to face challenges in this area due to volatility in television earnings and investment markets, we are learning to live within our means. One other operational development that I am particularly enthused about involves customer service. Our telephone-based service sometimes feels cumbersome and complex. Building on the good work that members and employees have done in the past, we are working to make some significant improvements in handling our incoming calls through a streamlined system that will get callers to the people — and the answers — they need. Strength in negotiations, improved operations and better customer service: these three pillars are part of an essential foundation for an organization that is constantly improving, learning and growing, which is the best way for the Guild to gain power. In unity and looking forward, David P. White 8 SCREEN ACTOR - Summer 2010

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