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SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors Holds First Meeting of 2015

LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (Jan. 10, 2015) — The SAG-AFTRA National Board met in a scheduled one-day video plenary today in Los Angeles and New York.

The national board unanimously approved the commencement of the Wages and Working (W&W) Conditions process for the Corporate/Educational & Non-Broadcast Contracts. SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris was named National Chair. The committee oversees the W&W process and develops with member input a recommended set of proposals. The current contracts will expire April 30, 2015.

President Ken Howard also established an ad hoc committee, the President’s Task Force for Education, Outreach and Engagement. The task force will engage, inspire, educate and empower SAG-AFTRA members across the country through direct member-to-member outreach and engagement to build a powerful alliance of engaged members dedicated to solidarity, unity and activism on behalf of their union and their fellow members.

Initial activities will include on-site local membership meetings, coordinated local events, academic outreach, film and television set visits and broadcast station visits and digital and print communications materials to be developed and distributed across the country.

Additional program elements include informational seminars on union governance and operations, and member-to-member engagement in support of union initiatives in all markets.

The board approved the appointment of President Ken Howard, Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris, Vice President, Broadcasters Catherine Brown, and National Board Members Rebecca Damon and Ellen Crawford as voting members and Vice President, Recording Artists Dan Navarro, NY Board Member and Dancer Jamal Story and National Board Member Abby Dylan as alternates.

In outlining plans for the new task force, Howard said, “I am pleased to be looking ahead and forging a new partnership among our union, membership and other communities. Together, we will advance relevant new initiatives that engage members while adding to our core strengths.”

National Executive Director’s Report

National Executive Director David White provided an update on union operations and priority initiatives including reports on public-facing operational improvements and the 2015 strategic calendar which includes a third quarter national convention.

President Ken Howard, Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White updated the board on the recent executive committee strategic planning retreat.

White introduced key staff who provided brief reports:

  • Chief Economist David Viviano gave a presentation about educational and training initiatives underway at the union;
  • Organizing Director Steve Sidawi provided an update on organizing efforts; and
  • Chief Communications & Marketing Officer Pamela Greenwalt reported on member education, outreach and marketing efforts throughout the organization and updated the board on the union’s digital communications programs.

Finance Report

Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino and Chief Financial Officer Arianna Ozzanto reported on second quarter results indicating that expected revenue and expenses are tracking closely to budget.

The board also voted to forgo the automatic increase in the union’s initiation fee that is provided for in the 2012 Merger Agreement.

Contracts Report

The national board unanimously voted to increase the rates provided in the Ultra Low Budget, Modified Low Budget and the Low Budget Theatrical Agreements. Rates for these contracts have not increased in a decade. New rates will reflect a catch-up adjustment of 25 percent effective July 1, 2015, and may be adjusted periodically as needed with a one-year notice of any such increase.

Legal Report

Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland reported the results of the recently concluded union membership census and provided an update on the ongoing distribution of foreign royalties to SAG-AFTRA members. The foreign royalties program has distributed more than $20 million to performers since inception.

Crabtree-Ireland reported Executive Committee actions and recommendations from the convention leadership group, including the adoption of the convention theme “Educate, Engage, Empower.” The four-day convention is scheduled for Oct. 1-4 at the Sheraton Universal in Los Angeles.

Additionally, the national board handled a number of routine governance and administrative matters including local constitutional amendments, committee roster changes, and other matters.

The meeting adjourned at 9:01 p.m. PST.