Convention Reports from Two First-Timers

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Convention Reports from Two First-Timers

Maiden Voyager

I attended my first SAG-AFTRA convention in October. 

I would like to say that attending the 2017 SAG-AFTRA convention was very inspiring. In the last five years, the incredible tasks that have been completed by the locals, National Board and convention delegates show the time and dedication SAG-AFTRA members have committed to make our industry better. 

I had two wonderful mentors for this year’s convention, Joe Corcoran and Margie Ghigo.  

My overall takeaway from the convention is that we (all of us in show biz) are in this together, and we are working for fair and equitable wages, safe work environments, and equal opportunities to work in unity and toward the future. However, there is still much more work to do to help bring more members into the union, provide more opportunities, and provide an even better health and pension plan and a safer work environment. 

Our union supports all professionals in the entertainment industry, regardless of age, race, creed, gender or sexual orientation. SAG-AFTRA is continuously striving to help members be successful in our crafts. 

I am personally looking forward to being an active contributor to continuing the mission of SAG-AFTRA for many years to come. May the force be with us. We are 160,000 members strong. Let’s see what we can do to increase our membership. 

Billy Holden, Vice President – Utah
SAG-AFTRA Arizona-Utah Local

Interesting, Educational, Inspirational!

This is my first contribution (at least I hope it’s a contribution) to the newsletter and my first communication to our Arizona-Utah membership as a new board member. Back when I served on the Arizona SAG board (as a great Ken Howard merger advocate) and following merger in 2012, I served on the joint SAG-AFTRA Arizona Local Board prior to elections for the new merged union.

Wanting to get active again in serving our union, I decided to run for a board seat this year and was elected. Concurrently, I opted to seek a delegate position to the SAG-AFTRA convention and was selected. I am excited and looking forward to our work on the board as we face some of the same-old, same-old challenges in getting government support to reinvigorate the once-booming film production business in Arizona.

As a first-time convention delegate, it was an interesting, educational, inspirational experience! It was exciting to be part of the 500-strong, energetic delegation in evaluating the current status of our union and charting its immediate future. While there were plenty of differences in opinion voiced regarding aspects raised in resolutions brought before the convention, there was also a pervading sense of synergy working toward resolving differences and striving for unity.

Since I stayed with L.A. union friends rather than at the convention hotel, commuting back and forth each day, I missed some of the ongoing unofficial interpersonal action at the hotel during non-business hours. But, as both friends were also L.A. Local delegates and one both an L.A. officer and National Board member, I got a lot of relevant information hanging out with them (and met a lot of other people, some “heavy hitters” in the union). 

During the “breakout panels,” I sat in with a (small) group in a senior panel. The biggest thing I took away from that session was that seniors were spread out all over the place during the specified breakout panels. We would have been better served if there were a larger, more diversified group of seniors directed toward the senior panel. An interesting issue that was raised in that panel — that surprisingly seemed to include both large and small markets — was union members working on non-union jobs in sister unions (e.g., SAG-AFTRA and Equity). I want to encourage all of my fellow union members to honor our fellow unions and always work under a union contract. Our future depends on it!

Back home now, an encouraging possibility for our future is the locally produced modified low budget film Raising Buchanan, filmed locally in October. Spearheaded by local member Amanda Melby, a co-producer of the comedy, the production included jobs for local union members. I’m looking forward to serving on the Arizona-Utah Local Board to work toward a brighter future for our union in Arizona!

Ted Raymond, Local Board Member-at-Large
SAG-AFTRA Arizona-Utah Local

Photo: Arizona-Utah 2017 convention delegates Joe Corcoran, Ted Raymond, Margie Ghigo and Billy Holden.