Spring 2016

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10 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2016 | A Letter from the Secretary-Treasurer J A N E A U S T I N "All of our efforts are ultimately focused on improving the ways in which we serve the members, and I believe we have begun to move in the right direction." will go live in the coming weeks. Soon, you will be able to more easily get your questions answered online or by phone. The new center, together with a forthcoming SAG-AFTRA app, will greatly enhance the way members communicate with their union and vice versa. We are financially sound and are tracking ahead of budget. For instance, we are gaining new members at an average rate of roughly 550 per month. This is significant considering the increase of non-union work and projects being done in so-called "right-to-work" states. All of our efforts are ultimately focused on improving the ways in which we serve the members, and I believe we have begun to move in the right direction. I am looking forward to the challenge of making it even better and reporting back to our members on the progress. In solidarity, Jane Austin Dear Member, I was shocked and saddened by the passing of Ken Howard. As the 25th president of the Screen Actors Guild, Ken was instrumental in pushing through the merger of SAG and AFTRA. He considered that perhaps his grandest accomplishment and I have to agree. Ken was a great actor. He was a historic union leader. After the merger, Ken was responsible for laying the foundation for the newly formed union. Now that we have this solid foundation, it is time to construct the building for our new leadership. I am looking forward to tackling this project with Gabrielle Carteris and Rebecca Damon, who were elected president and executive vice president at our April board meeting. I congratulate Gabrielle and Rebecca, and look forward to working with them and the current National Board. Meanwhile, the hiring of Brad Keenan to oversee administration and enforcement of our contracts, and the re-establishment of the Stunt, Safety, Singers and Dancers Department and Background Department shows how far we have come since restructuring started in January. Starting up new departments takes time, but we have accomplished this remarkably quickly. Kudos to our staff. Mary Cavallaro, SAG-AFTRA chief broadcast officer, is making astounding progress organizing our broadcast members across the country. If that was not enough work, she is also doing an outstanding job negotiating contracts for broadcasters. For our commercials performers, the Commercials Contracts have been negotiated successfully and members have overwhelmingly ratified them. They are excellent contracts that bring home huge gains and give us the opportunity to secure increased work opportunities for our members. The industry is rapidly changing and our contracts must reflect these changes. These contracts do just that; they are strong and relevant. Our new member contact center has not launched yet, but the team is currently in their final weeks of training and this

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