Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 2009 National Board Report

Focus On The Local
We must dedicate ourselves to the local
level. We are now in a stronger position to
do so.
We have an experienced unionist in
Steve Clinton, who is learning the ropes
of our top-down structure and to work
with the unpaid volunteers who are your
elected representatives and committee
members. We are unique in our structure,
with experience in the craft not being a
requirement to be hired by the Guild,
and employees who work for us, the
membership, rather than rise through
political ranks.
He is a fighter and a unionist to the core.
I strongly suggest private conversations
with as many of you as are willing to give
him the time and your two cents worth!
Once again, after a long period of longdistance
representation, our executive will
live and work in Nevada, building the
type of local daily interaction needed to
best serve and guide our union here in the
Silver State.
Our Focus Will Be On
Organizing This Market
Local jobs and a solid working
environment for all SAG members take
the type of dedication and drive Steve
Clinton offers us, and the full support
through volunteer efforts, positive
thoughts and forward-moving actions
of as many of us as can find the time to
volunteer, make calls or simply help our
new executive do his job for us.
We all know what a great job Hrair
Messerlian did for us, and wish him well
in his work for another group of union
brothers and sisters in California.
Now it is time to reach out and welcome
Steve Clinton, to build on what Hrair and
other Branch executives before him have
helped us build here in Nevada. You need
to communicate and work with Steve,
with your elected officers, council and
committees. The time is now.
Time To Unite
For Change
With apologies to our new president
of the United States, his slogan applies at
the local Screen Actors Guild level. In this
time of economic challenge, our unions
need your support and your dedication.
If we expect the future jobs, income and
benefits only unions can bring, we all
must look forward and work together.
Most of us are eager to find ways to get
contracts in place and work flowing. Here
in Nevada we are in a position to work
toward our future and the future of our
Share your personal contact information
with each other. Volunteer for committees.
Form committees and work groups. Do
not remain on the outside looking in or
assume those you elected are not working
for your interests. Keep them informed
and inside your personal circle.
We face an organized, well-financed and
powerful anti-union movement, nationally
and within the work force we compete
against for jobs doing what we love to do.
The truth is, there are those who carry
union cards who do not fully support
the role of unions and the integrity of
Rule One. We must help those SAG
members to understand and abide by our
basic organizing tool and we must not
work non-union or excuse those who do.
You must report violations and be active
in evangelizing union work if any of us
is to find a growth of union income in
our futures.
We must have faith in our interim
National Executive Director David White
and Chief Negotiator John McGuire in
these tough economic times as we battle
management on a now past-due contract
and sit down to initial joint meetings with
AFTRA on the Commercials and other
I have known McGuire for more than
15 years. He is an honest, dedicated man
who understands talent and this union
from the grassroots up. He has visited with
the Nevada membership on numerous
occasions and knows the needs of Nevada,
including our need for expansion of
the background zone, a studio zone and
both increased wages and increased jobs
under contract.
Beware of bitterness, manipulation,
anger and other negative forces that can
destroy an organization from within.
Instead, I ask you to look forward with
your feet planted firmly in Nevada, and
help all of us to build the Screen Actors
Guild here in the Silver State.
Demand Open and
Rapid Communication
As a member of the National Communications
Committee, I can report that the
doors are opening for greater participation
in the process of union communication
and outreach for all of us as members of
the Guild. The barriers set by previous
national boards and the politics of Hollywood’s
never ending election cycle remain, as we
find ways to work around restrictions and be
increasingly transparent in every way that
we can. Please be patient and support the
Regional Branch Division of your national
board as we work to open two-way channels
of communications.
It seems that lately the vast majority of
national and local business has fallen
under confidentiality and legal restraints that
limit what can be repeated or reported. I am
as upset with this as you are. I will share
what I can in person and assist you to seek
the proper sources instead of relying on
secondhand politics and egos.
Plan On Supporting
SAG Events
The best way to launch our move
forward as a union is to show up at our
membership meeting in March in support
of our new executive director, our return to
a local Screen Actors Guild office and your
highly energized Nevada Council.
In addition, be looking for mixers, events,
conservatories, conversations, committee
meetings and membership events in the
year ahead to build upon the community
of union performers that always has made
Nevada one of the most active and proud
Branches in the union.
This is a new beginning for our Branch,
after all!
Nevada Branch
The Organizing Committee is up and
running, with Chair Charlie DiPinto and
Co-Chair Arttours Weeden. All of the
Branch Committees need active volunteers,
and the Organizing Committee means jobs
for Nevada members if it is successful.
Please contact President Dressler or
Nevada Executive Director Steve Clinton
to discuss how you can join with your
brothers and sisters to use your talents,
connections, and resources to assist in
increasing the work opportunities right
here in Nevada.
The legislative committee will be an
ongoing committee, working with local,
state and national production community
organizations to help generate incentives
and work opportunities for talent living
here in Nevada. If you have contacts, or wish
to help in any other way, contact Chair
Art Lynch, Co-Chair Mary Ann Hebinck or
Nevada Executive Steve Clinton today.
Other committees seeking membership
include background, communication,
new technologies and the Nevada SAG
Step up to the plate and help your career
and the career of your fellow performers.
Become an active part of the Nevada
Branch of the Screen Actors Guild.
Your elected Nevada Branch officers and
council are here to answer your questions,
help you to offer your services to the Guild
and to oversee the work of the Guild in
our state. SAG policies dictate that contact
with SAG elected officers and staff must be
through the SAG office. Feel free to reach
those who represent you through:
Nevada Branch Executive Director:
Steve Clinton
(800) 724-0767 x7
(702) 737-8818
Nevada Branch President:
Steve Dressler
Vice President:
Barbara Grant
Adrienne Garcia Mann
Kim Renee
Council Members:
Charles DiPinto
John Powers
Richard Rockne
Leonard Turner
Arttours Weeden
National Board Director:
Art Lynch
national board Report
Dan Decker addresses a conservatory class February 21
about Shakespeare and storytelling.
continued from page 3
By Art Lynch