As we once again "gather around the fire," let me give some updates from the January National Board meeting that I recently attended in New York.
After the successful W&W process, the National Board approved the negotiation package for the upcoming TV/Theatrical negotiations; the contract is set to expire June 30.
There are several exciting technology initiatives the union is rolling out. The first is the start of a new service that will facilitate the delivery of residual payments via direct deposit (no more having to deal with the 7-cent checks — look here for more information). Second is the February release of the SAG-AFTRA mobile app, which allows you to track residuals, follow specific projects, keep up to date on union news, add events to your calendar, research contract info and get notifications about special union deals. Look here for details and instructions on how to download the app. Lastly, several online portals are now active: an agency portal designed as a one-stop shop to assist agents in all their interactions with the union, a staff portal for field staff and, soon, a casting agent portal.
Merged Health Plans
The merging of the health plans is complete and became effective Jan. 1, 2017. Please visit sagaftraplans.org for current information.
The National Board received a census report and the Twin Cities Local will continue to have one representative on the National Board.
The board approved a finance committee recommendation to hold initiation fees at the current rate. The automatic increase in base dues will result in a slight bump from $206 to $210.12 effective as of the May 1, 2017, dues period.
Interactive Video Game Strike
We continue to move forward in our strike against 11 video game employers, including Activision Publishing Inc., Electronic Arts Productions Inc., WB Games Inc. and others. A rally was held in Los Angeles on Feb. 2 that drew approximately 500 union members, including support from WGA, DGA, AEA, IATSE, UNITE HERE, SEIU, the Teamsters and AFM. The rally called for the struck video game corporations to end their bargaining standoff. We do believe that a reasonable and fair agreement can be achieved that will work for both sides. To keep up to date and informed on this strike, please check here.
Please consider volunteering your time to support the Twin Cities Local. Being involved is easy and not too demanding of your energy or time. As I’ve said before, it feeds the “work begets work” ethic. Please contact me to learn more, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until we meet again,