Spring 2016

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12 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2016 | D AV I D W H I T E A Letter from the National Executive Director "Our goal is for SAG-AFTRA to become a highly effective labor organization that supports, serves and engages members anywhere in the world where you work and live." that of Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon, SAG-AFTRA's national officer corps, which also includes Secretary- Treasurer Jane Austin, is now a triumvirate of powerful women. We take great pride in the fact that SAG-AFTRA may now be the only union in America led by an elected trio of women. In an era when many of us are working to emphasize diversity and inclusion in our industry, this constitutes a notable accomplishment for our membership. We also successfully completed our negotiations with the advertising industry in early April. These negotiations were momentous for several reasons, but of particular note was our formal embrace of social media in our Commercials Contract for the first time. The negotiating committee wrestled with the daunting responsibility of ensuring that our contracts in television and radio (reclassified as "audio") remain vibrant and relevant in the evolving landscape of advertising, and the committee certainly rose to this challenge, while also standing firm against efforts by management to dismantle longstanding provisions that protect you when you work in this space. During our April board meeting, we passed an annual budget for the upcoming fiscal year that anticipates yet another budget surplus, which means that we will continue to increase our financial reserves. The budget anticipates a number Dear Member, T here is a wonderful book that many history buffs know well, titled April 1865, which focuses on the incredible events of a single month that helped to shape the future path of our nation. While not quite so momentous as the close of the Civil War, the month of April 2016 and the weeks surrounding it were important for our union and worth taking a moment to consider. First, we gave a public, final farewell to the first elected president of our merged union, Ken Howard. Ken was an outstanding and tireless advocate for our members. Hundreds of industry leaders, members and friends joined us to proclaim thanks and appreciation for his extraordinary contributions as a leader, actor, teacher and friend. It was, as he would have wished, a joyful celebration of his life, and it gave those of us who worked directly with him a chance to remind the world how much he will be missed. The community also welcomed newly (and unanimously) elected President Gabrielle Carteris, whose impressive career as a performer and long tenure as an elected leader positions her to effortlessly take the reins of leadership during this critical period of growth and success. It must not go unnoticed that, with the board's election of President Carteris and of operational initiatives that commence this year, including a pilot project to begin direct deposits for residuals, the introduction of a mobile app that will facilitate easy member engagement with the union on critical functions that affect your working life (residuals tracking, etc.) and the inauguration of a member service call center that will eventually make it much easier for members to quickly access a live, trained person to answer your questions over the phone. These initiatives are part of our ongoing effort to make your union easier to work with, more effective in member services, and to use our limited operational resources in more efficient ways. Our goal is for SAG-AFTRA to become a highly effective labor organization that supports, serves and engages members anywhere in the world where you work and live. April 2016 was indeed a month of considerable, positive activity and the summer is shaping up to be even better. We hope you stay informed and join us in our organizing efforts, workshops and many other events! In unity and looking forward, David White

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