Pictured, from left, Nevada SAG President Steve Dressler, National SAG Secretary-Treasurer Connie Stevens, Nevada SAG National Board member Art Lynch
Increasing work and opportunities in Nevada
A simple goal with many complex variables and the need for action on the part of all of you as SAG membership.
Over the past few years, Steve Dressler and I have met with and shared discussion with our National Executive Director Doug Allen, key members of the Hollywood Division, our brothers and sisters of the Regional Branch Division as well as other national staff members and leadership, to move forward the agenda of the union, of all small branches, of SAG-only branches (many have AFTRA offices and/or staff support), of background talent (who work outside of Los Angeles) and of our Nevada branch.
Our branch has a more active participation in national committees than any other small branch. Seven Nevada members serve on national level committees. I have been selected by the president, Regional Branch Division or your council to serve on the New Media Task Force, to co-chair New Technologies, to serve on Communication, the Right to Work Task Force (where Hrair Messerlian and Kathy Morand, as staff, have also both been active on our behalf), and other committees as needed.
We need your help on local and regional committees, as individuals and as a branch to build momentum toward a Golden Age for the Nevada Branch and SAG.
An Office for Nevada
The Nevada SAG Council has passed several resolutions in favor of the return of a staffed office here in Nevada. While services are being provided through Los Angeles by our executive, whom we share with San Diego, Hrair is the only executive who is not based in or does not live in any of the branches he represents. Finances limit ‘boots on the ground’ networking, politicking, set visits and membership in-person interaction. While he has done wonders in helping us restore the spirit and identity of the branch, there are limits on what you can do with limited resources, time and a division of your time between multiple missions and branch requirements.
You can provide support through a membership action committee. It is in your hands.
Ask for and support an increase in the background zone
The council is asking for the entire state of Nevada. As with all contracts, the truth is that there is give and take, compromises, and often immovable opposition to any proposal. But we are trying, and the stronger you raise your voice in support, the more likely our chances for success. Contact your council, including me, to see how you can support your union in maximizing union work opportunities for you.
Support Production Incentives
Our executive Hrair Messerlian worked closely with organized labor, management and the Council to push forward legislation in Carson City to offer the first production incentives for the state of Nevada. I joined Hrair at the state capital to testify in favor of SB 321. The Taxation Committee, with the support of the Lieutenant Governor and the Office of Economic Development, passed the bill on to the full Senate with a unanimous “do pass” recommendation. The Senate Finance Committee and Senate have passed it and moved it on to the Assembly side. Thank you to all of you who responded to help push this bill through. It is my hope that it will become law. Time will tell.
Support Local Employment
Support, within the limits of the SAG rules we are bound to as members of a union (for example Rule One which states that you may not work non-union), all Nevada-based production and talent industry-based companies. Show them SAG is on their side. Encourage them to use SAG talent and sign SAG contracts. This includes working only through SAG franchised agents. Every dime a non-union agent (or manager working incorrectly as an agent) earns is a dime that discourages our growing union agent pool from following the rules and supporting our union.
Encourage SAG signatory status
You have the power to nudge employers toward becoming signatory to our contracts. When we had a physical office there were seven local signatories. Today we have none. True, in many cases those companies used primarily out-of-town talent, but then so do films, industrials and commercials coming to town. The opportunity for locals can only grow if we are ready for the work, prepared, and if the work opportunities are there in the first place. A first step is to increase the amount of union work on the plate.
Be prepared and professional on the set
Do the job you are hired to do and do it to the best of your professional training, ability, and desire.
Encourage others to join the Nevada Branch
The reality is that there is strength, financing and political voice in numbers. Qualified professional talent, particularly those in the younger age groups and needed ethnic representation, must be encouraged to join our branch as union actors. If they do not, the non-union talent pool will remain strong enough to discourage the use of union actors. As always, those members of other branches who live in Nevada need to be encouraged to join the branch. Whether their manager or agent handles money in another city, or they still identify with where they used to live, we need their support and membership to strengthen the state in which they live! It is that simple…we need them.
Create a Members Action Committee
As members you can take the lead on all of these actions and more, in the name of strengthening your union, thanking your union for what it has done, giving back to your union and in the drive for more union work in Nevada. Individual actions are strong and require no cooperation, other than with the branch president and our executive. Small groups and action committees can combine talents and drive into a sum greater than the individual parts. I encourage such a committee to be considered by the membership, and come from the membership level up.
Have a pleasant summer, but do not drop the union ball as you escape the heat or enjoy your families. We are all family, after all. Together we stand…you know the rest…
(Editor’s Note: We would like to congratulate Art and Laura Lynch on recently celebrating their 20-year wedding anniversary.)
Thank you to those of you who attended the April 29 New Member Orientation and/or the Membership Meeting that followed. We had almost 50 new members attend the Orientation and close to 90 at the Membership Meeting. They were good opportunities to meet your fellow members, elected and staff representatives.
During the Orientation, much information was compressed into a short presentation with the new members followed by a short Q&A. Likewise for the Membership Meeting, where reports were made about the work being done on the members’ behalf and the challenges that are faced everyday. Many members welcomed the opportunity to express themselves during the lively Q&A that followed. This type of communication and interaction is vital to the well being of the branch and is encouraged to maintain a dialogue between the membership-at-large and those who represent you.
On behalf of the SAG Nevada Branch, Welcome to the following New Members:
Yvet-Heuing Lam Koa, Miss Martha, Jennifer Littig, Dean Mauro, Nicole Pryor, Scott Mirne, Sean Bahr, Tina Walsh, Stephen Joseph Lizotte, The Long Twins, Alain Hodge LeBlanc, Nicholas Patitucci, James M Baker, LeLe B Baker, Butch Williams
Other Nevada Branch statistics since January 2007 for your review:
Active Nevada SAG Branch Members: 912
Active Non-Nevada Branch Members Living in Nevada: 360
Number of SAG Members Transferring into the Nevada Branch: 39
Number of SAG Members Transferring out of the Nevada Branch: 13
Number of Performers Gaining SAG Membership Eligibility: 42
One of our actors did a union commercial for API. She received a large envelope of checks today adding up to $9,600. This is the power of doing union work.
The Remington Agency has recently received their Agency Franchise from SAG. David Brown runs Remington and is located in Henderson, Nevada. He can be contacted at (702) 492-1216, 10120 South Eastern Avenue, #242 Henderson, NV 89052.
Welcome aboard, David!
Remember you can now pay your dues online. You don’t have to wait for the billing statement. Pay early and have peace of mind that your membership is secure.
SAG condemns guild quitters
Board cracks down on 'fi-core'
By Dave McNary
SAG's going to start slamming the door on thesps who quit the union.
Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild are toughening up the guild's policy on how it treats members who file for "financial core" status. Members who go "fi-core" resign their SAG membership and withhold the dues spent by SAG on political activities but can still work on union jobs.
At a weekend membership meeting, national exec director Doug Allen and national director of organizing Todd Amorde indicated that those who do go "fi-core" generally won't be allowed back into SAG. That disclosure prompted enthusiastic reaction from the 500 SAG members in attendance at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City.
"It's going to be quite a bit more difficult to get back in, because resigning from the union is a conscious decision," Amorde told Daily Variety. "It's been sort of a don't-ask-don't-tell policy, but the board of directors has given us a directive to be much more stringent."
Amorde said the new policy's part of a larger SAG initiative to improve organizing of non-union work and to become the authoritative source on the implications of going fi-core. (SAG doesn't disclose how many members have done so.)
"What we're going to stress is that it may be your right under federal law to go fi-core, but it's not a good idea," he added.
The initiative's an outgrowth of efforts from a task force created last year and headed by board member Paul Napier to explore how to deal with such members. Guild leaders have become increasingly concerned in recent years over actors circumventing discipline under SAG's Rule One -- an internal rule that explicitly bars members from working for producers who are not signatory to SAG agreements.
Those who violate Rule One can be fined, suspended or expelled after a trial board hearing.
SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg and several board members leafleted last month outside an audition for a non-union Mercedes-Benz commercial. It was the guild's first such effort in several years in the Hollywood area.
When Screen Actors Guild’s revolutionary online casting directory iActor rolls out to casting directors and industry professionals later this year, will you be there?
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Be an iActor! Go to www.sag.org and sign in as a member, then select iActor from the member tool bar. Create your profile and upload headshots and multimedia clips today. Don't miss your next gig, get on iActor now!
Questions? Call our helpline at (800) 724-0767, (323) 549-6789, or email email@example.com.
As a member of Screen Actors Guild it is important that you learn as much as you can about the contracts that have been negotiated to benefit you. Recently, it came to our attention that some independent online casting services were advertising themselves to Arizona members as doorways to job opportunities out of state. What was implied in the pitch was that actors in Arizona could work in another state as "local hires" by signing up and paying for the service.
Our contracts address what producers are to provide when performers travel. Those provisions may cover such things as transportation, travel time, room and meals, terms not ordinarily afforded to "local hires." Although the provisions do vary according to the specific contract the producer signs with SAG, our contracts are intended to assure that performers are compensated fairly whenever they are required to travel.
It undermines our contracts when you receive anything less than what is provided for. Don't assume that the information conveyed by these online services is correct. Members should always check with the Guild to see how travel is covered under the contract they have been offered before accepting the job.
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