Recipients of George Heller Memorial Award Announced
The second day of SAG-AFTRA’s National Convention on Saturday began with a presentation by National Executive Director David White, which provided an update to convention delegates on initiatives set forth during the last convention such as the Member Care Contact Center, direct deposit, the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan merger, the member app and Spanish-Language organizing. White’s presentation also covered the increased challenges faced in so-called Right-to-Work states, the challenges broadcast journalists are facing due to the threat of deregulation in their industry, residuals processing, the changing technological landscape as well as member engagement.
“We have reached a turning point as an institution,” said White. “There are transformational changes occurring in the industries in which our members work. Therefore it will require transformational change within this union to meet the challenges ahead. We’ve accomplished tremendous amounts of work since our last meeting, but the disruptive business models we now face and the pace of change we must now grapple with is unprecedented. While this presents an awesome challenge, this also presents an awesome opportunity for us. SAG-AFTRA must rise to seize the opportunity and meet the challenge.”
In addition to White’s report, delegates worked through several resolutions and attended afternoon panels and workshops. In the evening, delegates were invited to attend a special screening of the film Molly's Game. On Friday night, at the union’s A Legendary Evening gala, staff members John McGuire and Marcia Fishman as well as members Ned Vaughn and Joe Krebs were all recipients of the George Heller Memorial Award gold cards in recognition for their outstanding contributions to SAG-AFTRA and its members.
The George Heller Memorial Award is presented every two years at convention and bestowed based on contributions and years of service to SAG-AFTRA or its predecessor unions. Recipients are selected by a subcommittee comprised of past recipients and National Honors and Tributes Committee members from around the country. The recipients are:
John McGuire, Senior Advisor
McGuire started with Screen Actors Guild in 1969 and has been with the union nearly 50 years. He served as the New York executive director at the Guild until 1983, after which he rose to the position of SAG’s associate national executive director until 2001. He has been an instrumental player when it comes to contract negotiation. Outside of the union, he’s a tireless advocate for members, both in the United States and on the international stage. He serves as vice president of the International Federation of Actors and is a trustee of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
Marcia Fishman, Director of Locals Administration
For almost 15 years, Marcia Fishman has advocated for SAG-AFTRA members in locals across the country. As a local executive and now a national leader, she has a passion for continuing education and organizational growth. Fishman has worked to improve the union’s everyday operations to better serve members of all backgrounds, leading the fight on crucial issues, including the campaign against so-called Right-to-Work laws.
Ned Vaughn, Executive Vice President
Vaughn was SAG-AFTRA’s first executive vice president. A passionate advocate for members, Ned also served in governance in Screen Actors Guild, on the Hollywood Branch Board, the National Board and as the first national vice president. He was one of the key voices in the merger of SAG and AFTRA, and he worked tirelessly with the Group for One Union to accomplish what had been attempted unsuccessfully multiple times before. He was also instrumental in convincing the late Ken Howard, SAG-AFTRA’s first president, to become involved in union service, and Ken made a point of thanking him when he received his own gold card in 2015.
Joe Krebs, Broadcaster
Krebs is a dedicated journalist and a true union man. He has decades of union service, first at AFTRA, and then at SAG-AFTRA. He has served as president of AFTRA’s Washington-Baltimore Local, on AFTRA’s National Board, on the SAG-AFTRA National Board and on countless committees in both unions, including chairing the Broadcast Steering Committee. He was a key member of the merger team and co-authored the merged union’s dues structure as well as the SAG-AFTRA Constitution. Professionally, Krebs has been informing the public for more than four decades, with the last 30 years at the NBC owned and operated television station WRC-TV, until his retirement in 2012. He has won multiple Emmys for his reporting, in addition to numerous other honors and awards.
The 2017 SAG-AFTRA American Scene Awards were also presented at the gala in three categories:
ENTERTAINMENT AWARD – 20th Century Fox Television for This is Us.
The Entertainment Award was presented by actor Jon Huertas to This Is Us writer Kay Oyegun.
BELVA DAVIS NEWS & BROADCAST AWARD – KPBS San Diego
The Belva Davis News & Broadcast Award was presented by investigative reporter Amita Sharma to San Diego State University Research Foundation for KPBS San Diego. The award was accepted by Nancy Worlie, KPBS Associate General Manager for Content and Communication.
MUSIC & SOUND RECORDINGS AWARD – Atlantic Music Group for Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and The Hamilton Mixtape.
The Music & Sound Recording Award was presented by SAG-AFTRA Sound Recordings/Singers National Vice President Dan Navarro to Kevin Weaver, President of Atlantic Records, West Coast.
The SAG-AFTRA National Convention concludes Sunday with officer reports and the Committee of Locals meeting at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City. For more information about the SAG-AFTRA inaugural convention, please visit SAGAFTRACONVENTION.org.