Fall/Winter 2010

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Page 22 of 73

A LETTER TO MEMBERS From Secretary–Treasurer AMY AQUINO Dear Member, much to be thankful for. As you probably know, SAG and AFTRA just finished a successful joint negotiation that won, T among other gains, an absolutely critical shot in the arm for our challenged pension and health plans. It’s no secret that pension plans across the country took a big hit when the market plummeted in 2008, and SAG’s pension plan was no exception. In addition, skyrocketing healthcare costs have been putting a serious strain on our health insurance. Meanwhile, both plans are seeing declining contributions due to cuts in feature film production and the shiſt of TV work away from SAG. Our plans are in real danger, and getting a major improvement in contributions was far and away our highest priority going into the TV/Teatrical negotiations. Te deal that was struck (at 3 a.m. on November 7, aſter six weeks of talks) includes a 10 percent jump in the percentage of our salary our employers would contribute to the plans. Tis is the biggest single raise that we’ve seen in 20 years, and would give SAG and AFTRA the highest contribution rate—16.5 percent—of all the entertainment unions. For members who depend on these benefits, or hope to someday, there could not be better news. Assuming the SAG and AFTRA boards approve the contract, and the members ratify it, it would go into effect July 1, 2011, and would go a long way toward strengthening the plans and protecting our coverage. While we shouldn’t expect that the trustees won’t need to make any adjustments at all, there’s absolutely no question that if not for these outsized gains, benefits would have been severely slashed, and eligibility made much more difficult for us all. Of course, keeping the SAG and AFTRA plans healthy can only go so far to help performers whose incomes are increasingly split between the two unions. Only merging the unions, and ultimately the plans themselves, can solve that, and there’s reason to be thankful on this front as well: First, staff and members of the two unions were able to work together seamlessly and extremely productively in this difficult negotiation. On top of that, over the past month SAG and AFTRA representatives and top leadership found the time to hold the first two meetings of the Presidents’ Forum for One Union (see page 25). In other words, serious dialogue about merger has begun, and you can look forward to more news in the coming months. So despite the challenging times, we as performers do have a lot to be thankful for, and I trust that for you, like myself, that includes the company of your family and friends this holiday season. Among those who can’t take that for granted, however, are the members of the American military who will be spending their holidays in service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Your SAG National Board wants to give you a chance to make the holidays happier for them by buying calling cards that will let them connect with their far-away loved ones. Making a tax-deductible donation to buy “Touch of Home from Hollywood” SAG calling cards couldn’t be easier (see page 25 for details), and it really means a lot for men and women in uniform to know that the actors they admire are thinking about them, too. I hope you’ll join me in giving if you’re able. Happy holidays to all, and here’s to strength and solidarity in the coming year. he holidays are around the corner, and the current economy will make them tough for many Americans. Tat’s why I’m especially happy that the last few weeks have brought SAG members Amy Aquino 20 SCREEN ACTOR - Fall/Winter 2010

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