Spring 2011

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ON LOCATION HOLLYWOOD DIVISION In My Opinion: Ned Vaughn 1st National Vice President A s I talk with members about SAG and AFTRA becoming one union, a question I hear frequently is, “What’s going to happen to my benefits if we merge?” Here’s an important fact: If you’ve earned a SAG pension, an AFTRA pension, or both, those benefits are protected by federal law and will not change if SAG and AFTRA merge. Whether it’s the vested pension you’re expecting in the future, or retirement benefits you’re already drawing, you will receive the money you’re counting on. It’s that simple. Of course, many members want to know how their future earnings will be treated, and exactly how our pension and health plans will operate if SAG and AFTRA are combined. Those questions must ultimately be answered by the independent boards of trustees that govern the plans. Because of the substantial resources required, they are unlikely to do that extensive (and expensive) work before a merger is actually approved. It’s also important to note that the trustee boards function separately from the unions. In fact, half of the trustees on each board are there representing our employers. If SAG and AFTRA become one union, the trustees will then face pressure to find the best way of moving the plans forward. A range of options is available. The existing plans could merge, or they may run on parallel tracks for a limited period. Or they might effectively be frozen, with future earnings going into a newly created plan. Whatever the solution, it must meet the trustees’ legal obligation to protect plan participants. That’s extremely important, and yet there is a more fundamental reason to unite SAG and AFTRA: bargaining strength. Bargaining strength underlies every aspect of a union, including pension and health benefits. If SAG and AFTRA remain separate, employers will continue to divide our work, effectively putting our unions in competition and diminishing our bargaining strength. Over time, that will erode our contracts and the benefits they provide. That is not acceptable, and we must stop it now. The essential first step is to form a single union. As a member who is counting on my union benefits to be there for decades to come, I know how crucial it is to protect them. And as an actor who relies on union contracts to support my family, I know that bargaining strength is the true foundation of a solid future for performers — and the fundamental reason why SAG and AFTRA must become one union. Onward together, Ned Vaughn A Bridge to Health Low-Cost Medical Visits for the Temporarily Uninsured s a nonprofit and health services provider geared exclusively for people in the entertainment industry, the Motion Picture & Television Fund understands the unique challenges of maintaining regular medical care. The Bridge to Health program was created to assist industry members who are temporarily uninsured by providing basic medical visits for one low fee of $25 per visit. With the goal of providing care to as many patients as possible, the MPTF Bridge to Health program will see individuals who meet the following eligibility criteria: • The industry member must have no health insurance coverage or must have only in-patient hospital coverage. High deductible outpatient coverage is not considered uninsured. • The cardholder must have worked consistently in the entertainment industry within the last three years. A guild membership card is not sufficient proof of having worked within this timeframe. • The cardholder must be able to prove that he/she meets these eligibility requirements at the time an appointment is scheduled. Appointments can be made by calling any MPTF Health Center. Please note that the Bridge to Health program is not an insurance plan or a replacement for insurance. Visit the MPTF website at for more information. HALL OF FAME Screen Actors Guild was on hand to celebrate the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Awards to Diahann Carroll, Tom Freston, Earle Hagen, Susan Harris, Peter Jennings, Cloris Leachman and Bill Todman. Pictured, from left, are Hollywood Division Board members Dawnn Lewis (national), Sam Jaeger, Marcia Strassman (national), Valerie Harper and Hollywood Executive Director Ilyanne Morden Kichaven. 36 SCREEN ACTOR - Spring 2011 Dynamic Graphics Mathew Imaging/ATAS

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