Fall 2015

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12 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2015 | D AV I D W H I T E A Letter from the National Executive Director "We must have focused, strategic discussion to achieve our goals and to ensure that we safeguard the opportunities available for the next generation of our members." activating thousands of members who are now signing petitions, sending targeted messages to companies and engaging each other in social media and elsewhere, we have commenced Phase II of our Commercials organizing effort. This is a significant move as we take the power of an increasingly activated membership to the companies themselves. We also have multiple industry partners that have joined SAG-AFTRA in "A Call to Arts" and are contributing their volunteers' time and energy to mentoring young professionals, and are logging hours to ensure we achieve our goal with AFI and the White House. This is the tip of the iceberg for our organizing and engagement efforts. This year alone, we have organized several new broadcast units, signed over a dozen new audiobook employers to our contracts, made significant strides in our efforts to organize Spanish language production, partnered with universities across the country to engage future filmmakers, and continued to expand our internal engagement efforts with existing members in countless other ways. This year's efforts peaked during our second National Convention, where hundreds of activists gathered to share ideas, debate governance issues and receive updates on the union's strategic initiatives for the coming year. Dear Member, I t is hard to believe that we are already approaching the end of 2015. This has been a significant year for SAG-AFTRA, particularly in the area of organizing. We started the year with a series of efforts to expand members' involvement in several organizing efforts. The President's Task Force on Education, Outreach & Engagement has involved hundreds of activists and thousands of members in educational activities around the country. In partnership with the White House and the American Film Institute (AFI), we established "A Call to Arts," a nationwide, multi-year initiative to mobilize volunteers to connect with the next generation of storytellers and filmmakers in our union, our industry and beyond. And the Commercials Organizing & Recapture Initiative kicked off a national meeting with – count them – 1,200 members in our offices around the country who were anxious to learn more and to get involved. These efforts and others represent "new muscles" for our merged union and we are determined to strengthen them. I am pleased to report to you that we can already see the beginning fruits of our labor. For example, after The Convention was filled with positive, forward looking energy and members left feeling empowered and excited about the challenges that lie ahead. As we close out the year, we turn our attention to our Commercials contract negotiations, which begin in February 2016. Our member leadership is keeping a watchful eye on the twin goals of achieving the many contract gains needed by our members and continuing to advance the work of our organizing efforts. In other words, we need to ensure more work for our members and that work must be fairly compensated and protected. As was discussed during our Convention presentations, we must have focused, strategic discussion to achieve our goals and to ensure that we safeguard the opportunities available for the next generation of our members. Fortunately, as a result of the activities that have flourished over the past year, we are even better positioned to accomplish this thoughtful and intricate work. In unity and looking forward, David White

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