Spring 2017

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6 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2017 | G A B R I E L L E C A R T E R I S A Letter from the President "From negotiating strong contracts and organizing new work to enforcement and policy advocacy, I am amazed at what we have accomplished together …" were cheers, hugs and many tears. In that moment, we recognized that we were paving the way to dramatically improve the lives of Spanish-language media performers in America and beyond. This is historic. This speaks to who we are as a union. Another aspect of unionism is our focus on contract enforcement. When we heard from members that the per diem provisions were routinely violated by employers, we acted. We sent a notice to members nationwide reaffirming their rights. It also sent a message to employers that these abuses of the contract are unacceptable. As a result of this type of enforcement, more members are now receiving their per diems according to the rules. The union is also pursuing several reports of excessive holds that violate the options and exclusivity provisions of the contract. When we work together, we can hold employers accountable and make the industry safer for all. Since my last letter, a new admin- istration has taken over in Washington, D.C. It is apparent that there will be some shifts in policy that may directly affect our union. I want you to know that I am paying attention to the policy debate and working directly with legislative leaders, industry allies and labor colleagues to ensure the best possible outcomes for our union. For instance, when journalists' ethics were attacked on social media, it was Dear Member, W e are approaching negotiations on our TV/Theatrical contracts. When we sit down to bargain with representatives of the major motion picture and television networks and studios, we will do so with a strategic and informed proposal package. It is important to know that thousands of members helped develop these proposals in wages and working conditions meetings across the country. I also heard from members on sets, in membership meetings and in get-togethers in many of our locals. Issues of the greatest concern were raised and helped define the package that we will put forth as a union. When we step into the negotiating room in the coming days, it will be with a strong experienced negotiating committee, our extraordinary national executive director and chief negotiator, David White, and a unanimous approval of the proposal package from our national board of directors. As we have been preparing for these negotiations, we have also been busy continuing to organize. In early March, I joined performers, SAG-AFTRA organizers and staff in a National Labor Relations Board hearing room in Tampa, Florida. We were there for the formal ritual of counting votes in an election to unionize Telemundo. As the votes were read aloud one by one, and the pile of "yes" ballots rose, there SAG-AFTRA members from across the country who came together to write and publish a passionate defense of the First Amendment and underscore the rights of a free and unencumbered press. And it's not just broadcasters that are under threat. In March, the administration proposed a budget that would defund the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and public broadcasting — not just budget cuts, but total defunding. This is unacceptable. We recognize that the arts not only support us as performers, but support our youth, our communities and our future. It is clear to me that we have a role to play. SAG-AFTRA continues to work with all parties as a strong voice for copyright protection, arts funding and other policies benefiting our membership. From negotiating strong contracts and organizing new work to enforcement and policy advocacy, I am amazed at what we have accomplished together over the last year and since our merger five years ago. I have been inspired by the passion and hard work of our membership and I am so proud to say I am a member of SAG-AFTRA. Strength in unity, Gabrielle Carteris

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