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Friday, May 22, 2009

MESSAGE FROM NEVADA BRANCH PRESIDENT STEVE DRESSLER AND NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER ART LYNCH May 22, 2009 Vote “Yes” on the Theatrical/TV Contracts And mail your ballot in today! Dear Nevada Branch Member, The contract contains vital gains for Nevada and for your union. Our Background Zone will expand to cover the area within a 15-mile radius of the Clark County Courthouse, a sizable gain. The number of covered Background Actors in Theatrical productions will increase from 50-55 over the term of the contract. The number of covered Background Actors in Television will increase from 19 to 20 upon ratification. We will regain our lead position in the next round of contract negotiations, working with AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA. For complete and additional information on the contract view the continuous videos on the SAG homepage at: http://www.sag.org or visit the Contract Center at http://www.sag.org/contractcenter So mark your ballot “YES” and drop it in the mail! Every vote counts. Thank you, Steve Dressler Nevada Branch President Art Lynch Nevada National Board Member


MESSAGE FROM NEVADA BRANCH PRESIDENT STEVE DRESSLER AND NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER ART LYNCH
May 22, 2009

Vote “Yes” on the Theatrical/TV Contracts
And mail your ballot in today!

Dear Nevada Branch Member,

The contract contains vital gains for Nevada and for your union.

Our Background Zone will expand to cover the area within a15-mile radius of the Clark County Courthouse, a sizable gain.

The number of covered Background Actors in Theatrical productions will increase from 50-55 over the term of the contract.

The number of covered Background Actors in Television will increase from 19 to 20 upon ratification.

We will regain our lead position in the next round of contract negotiations, working with AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA.

For complete and additional information on the contract view the continuous videos on the SAG homepage at:http://www.sag.org or visit the Contract Center athttp://www.sag.org/contractcenter

So mark your ballot “YES” and drop it in the mail!

Every vote counts.

Thank you,

Steve Dressler
Nevada Branch President

Art Lynch
Nevada National Board Member

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 2009 National Board Report



National Board Report

By Art Lynch
"Even if you're on the right track,
you'll get run over if you just sit there."
- Will Rogers
We need to continue to move forward as a Branch, attracting as many new members as we can, working together to build work opportunities under contract, to demonstrate the professionalism that is union talent, to help each other during times where work may not be easy to find and to study, practice and showcase our craft in the best possible light.

It is time to take action, to be on the right track and to keep the momentum that began with our earning the return of a Nevada-based executive and potential office moving forward for the benefit of all Nevada talent and our industry.

Constant and aggressive work by the Nevada SAG officers, council, committee and membership are what keeps us one of the most active Branches in the union. Our attendance at membership meetings and participation in union affairs impresses many other Branches. Instead of assuming a status quo, look into how much your elected volunteer officers and fellow Branch members are doing to not only stay ahead of the train, but help power its engines. Then join in because greater numbers means even more can get done. No action is too small. Everyone can contribute in his or her own way. Help us to keep moving in your interests and in the interests of every SAG member.

We also need to take the time to thank Lenny Turner and all former officers and council members who gave their time to our Branch over the years. Many remain active behind the scenes or provide advice and a needed institutional memory.

I can testify to the amount of work you never see or hear about, but which has been done over the years in your best interests and for the Guild by a long list of union activists, Lenny being the most recent to “retire” from elected service. While holding his light under a bushel, Lenny worked aggressively for background performers locally and on the National Background Committee. He served on the National Seniors Committee and stood up for all talent.

A proud “thank you” to all who have volunteered to serve or have given of their time to the Nevada Branch and the Screen Actors Guild.

The Nevada SAG Conservatory is of value for beginners, those still growing and seasoned professionals. Many of you know that I coach actors. A change in my teaching schedule has allowed me to bring students to the Nevada SAG Conservatory. At the very least, the conservatory is a chance to use your instrument, and at the most it can be an eye-opening look into the current needs and future of the industry.
 
Using the conservatory to break the ice, I open this report to tout the value of the programs and committees offered though volunteers, just like you, for Nevada Branch members and the Guild. The many people who asked the Nominating Committee to be considered for endorsement speak highly of our Branch’s interest in its own future and growth. I would like to invite those of you who took the time to show your interest, and all of you taking the time to read this newsletter, to join in our active Guild committees and activities.

Mary Ann Hebinck and I co-chair the Legislative Committee. This is not a dry business committee; it is an opportunity to influence how well Nevada competes in the now very competitive world of production incentives, and in doing so, to play an active role in generating active work and income under contract for all Screen Actors Guild members. Right-to-work and other far-reaching legislative issues also are part of the mission of the Legislative Committee.

The Organizing Committee is using phone calls, “tweets” and whatever methods are available to help create an active “get out the members” support for any and all activities that will help us to organize this market, and in doing so generate work for members.

Communications produces the newsletters, assists with e-blasts and works to improve the ability for members to communicate with each other and be kept informed by their union and its elected representatives.

Wages and Working Conditions, under Nevada Branch President Steve Dressler, is currently at work on a proposed local contract to be presented to local producers, directors, advertising agencies and production companies as part of SAG’s continuous efforts to provide increased union work within Nevada.

Contact Steve Dressler or our executive, Steve Clinton, to find out more about how you can become involved in the future of the Nevada Branch.

Regional Branch Division Meeting

The Regional Branch Division of the National Board met in New York City to discuss current issues facing the Branches and the Guild. The National Board is divided into three divisions, with Hollywood being the largest in numbers and votes. New York is second, but not by much over the Regional Branch Division, which is made up of National Board members from each of the Branches outside of Hollywood and New York. Unlike the other divisions, we do not have a method to communicate in person more than four times a year. We work together using teleconferences, e-mail and U.S. mail. The Regional Branch Division is a diverse group of individuals representing the very different and equally diverse needs of their Branches, of the Division and of the national membership.
Communication with our members remains a priority, as does maintaining and increasing the amount of work under contract available outside of the production hubs of Los Angeles and New York City.
Deputy National Executive Director Pamm Fair reported that there were 36 staff layoffs this past year, with a total of 62 positions left vacant. That represents about a ten percent reduction in SAG staff. Things are hectic with the increased workload. She spoke of a national focus on organizing commercials, and on national legislative priorities being pursued in Washington D.C., as well as other issues being watched in Sacramento, New York, Florida, Michigan and Texas.

SAG supports President Obama's health care reform as long as it does not harm or impact the SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plans. The Guild also supports the Employee Free Choice Act.

National Board Meeting

Following our RBD meeting, we joined with the New York Division Board in their boardroom for a video-conference with our brothers and sisters in Hollywood as a full National Board of Directors. Most often, I participate in national business by telephone or in the Los Angeles boardroom. Every effort is made to save the Guild money in this tight budget year. Often, expense is the major issue discussed by your National Board, weighed against what is needed to advance union work and protect your union rights and privileges.
This is a time of radical and rapid change within the national union movement. SAG needs to decide what "sort of organization we are" and where we stand. We need to market SAG and unionism in the context of the 21st century.

Interim National Executive Director David White said simply, "I and my staff are always proud to serve and sit beside you.”

He added, "We must face reality without blinking. The Guild can, must, has been and shall be relevant, vibrant, alive and significant in the industry and among America's labor movement."

Despite a decrease in the number of employees, inroads have been made to speed residuals.

The long-term care unit at the Motion Picture Home in Los Angeles is being phased out for economic reasons. The National Board voted 51.74 percent to 48.26 percent to go on record as opposing the closure of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Long Term Care Facility.

This is the time to encourage qualified performers to join our union. The National Board voted to postpone the automatic increase of the initiation fee for 2009. The move provides an economic incentive to new members across the country by approving a one-year remission in the standard increase to the new-join fee.

“The automatic increase in initiation fees would have made the cost of joining SAG more difficult for actors across the country, particularly in this difficult economic period. This action recognizes the stark reality facing professional actors and helps to keep the possibility of membership within reach of those who wish to join,” said White.

See you at the membership meeting September 20 at the Tropicana Hotel.