SAG-AFTRA Summer 2012

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Letters from the Co-Presidents KEN HOWARD "The landmark choice to bring SAG and AFTRA together was wise indeed." Dear SAG-AFTRA Member, O who watched that our new union, SAG- AFTRA, was born. It was a remarkable moment in a historic day, one I will never forget. If you haven't had a chance, I n March 30, I had the privilege, along with Co-President Roberta Reardon, of announcing to all recommend visiting to watch footage of the press conference that was held as results of the merger vote were read. What you'll see is an exhilarating mix of celebration, gratitude, and a renewed sense of pride and purpose. As I said then, the biggest and most important congratulations go to you, the members. Your decision to unite SAG and AFTRA was unequivocal and inspiring, and it changes the possibilities ahead of us. Not unlike the careers we pursue, a moment of great accomplishment — even a defining achievement like merger — calls for us to work even harder, as it presents new opportunities. That is certainly true as we set about building the future of SAG-AFTRA, and I'm happy to report that one of our first efforts has already produced an exciting result. As you'll see on page 24, SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative agreement on a first- ever industrywide contract with major record labels to cover dancers and other performers in music videos. representatives worked to develop a merger plan, dancers and staff organizers were busily engaged in an effort to galvanize music video performers. That energetic organizing campaign raised awareness and strengthened resolve, but the contract negotiations hit a sticking point and stalled. In the wake of our successful merger, we prepared to take the serious step of issuing a Do Not Work notice against music video productions — a move that would have become the first major action of SAG-AFTRA. Harnessing the momentum of our Last year, as SAG and AFTRA newly created union paid off. Negotiators returned to the bargaining table and reached an agreement that, if ratified, will finally provide crucial union protections to our members who work in music videos. It's a terrific example of one historic achievement following another. The bigger point, however, is this: While SAG-AFTRA is now the largest union in the entertainment and media industry, that alone isn't enough. We must still undertake smart, strategic and potentially difficult efforts to reach our goals. Our transformation into a single union dramatically improves our ability to do that but, as always, our success ultimately depends on the strength of our commitment and the wisdom of our choices. The landmark choice to bring SAG and AFTRA together was wise indeed, and as we continue shaping our new union, we will find countless opportunities to exercise more good judgment. We will soon begin preparing for the upcoming negotiation of our Commercials Contract, which expires next spring. It is one of SAG-AFTRA's most valuable contracts, thanks not only to the earnings and employer benefits contributions it generates, but also the large number of members who work under it. This summer, Wages and Working Conditions meetings will take place in SAG-AFTRA Locals across the country, providing members direct participation in the process of determining our contract proposals. The "W&W" process is not just your chance to give input about the contract issues that matter most to you, it is a remarkable way to get involved with your fellow members and contribute to the life of our union. As SAG president, my goal and my promise to members was clear. Thanks to you, that goal is now behind us, but my promise will always remain. As SAG- AFTRA co-president, I am here to listen. In unity, Ken Howard 6 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2012 |

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