Detroit 2012:03

days since last accident 165
The Official E-Newsletter of the Detroit Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Detroit Branch
March 2012


Liz Zazzi
National Board Member
National Chair, Communications

I was dragged kicking and screaming to Facebook in 2008 by a theater director who couldn’t believe I wasn’t plugged in to this “amazing way to network professionally” and “reconnect personally” with people. In the early days of Facebook, I challenged someone who had what I thought was a bloated number of “friends,” and she assured me: “I can tell you how I met and know each of the friends in my list.” So here I am, four years and almost 800 “friends” later to make the same claim.

Social media has served me well. I found long-lost friends, and I was able to communicate effectively with professional peers.

Yet what troubles me is the notion that social media enables some people to go into attack mode. I see people I know and respect attacking others I know and respect. The merger of SAG and AFTRA has been a constant subject of discussion, with some comments unfortunately demanding assurances and guarantees. And all of this was taking place before the documents were made public. As I write this, members now have online access to the Merger Agreement, the proposed Constitution and the P&H Feasibility Report.

In the coming weeks, I hope we can all use social media to share real information. Unlike the last two merger efforts, we now have this breathtaking technology available to communicate with thousands of people at the touch of a button. But then, please step away from the computer and attend some informational meetings so you can cast an informed vote. Volunteer to be a member leader and help get out the vote.

I had the pleasure of working on the Group for One Union (G1) to create this set of merger documents and now I am helping educate the membership about them. We tried to take the best of both unions to make something new. It was an amazing experience. As we embark on this unique chapter in our lives as union members, I hope we can all think about this: If you were forming a union for actors and media professionals TODAY, having never had one before, would you make two unions so they could compete with each other, or would you make ONE?

I’m for One Union: SAG-AFTRA.

Special thanks to Liz Zazzi, editor-in-chief of New York Actor, for her permission to reprint her article from the Winter 2012 edition.


If you haven’t done so already, please pay your dues today. If you are not an active paid-up member in good standing, you will not be able to serve on the Council or committees in the future. You must also be paid to date to register on iActor, the Guild’s online casting program, which is now being used by casting directors nationwide. If you have any questions regarding your dues, please contact the Membership Department at 1-800-724-0767, prompt #2 or 212-944-6243.

Peter Tocco

Branch President's Message

Hello My Union Friends,

If you have been living under a rock for several weeks then you probably don’t know that SAG and AFTRA are trying to merge into one union. Remember, all ballots are due back by March 30.

As your president, I stand in favor of this merger and I want to urge you to vote yes for one union. So many SAG members have volunteered their time to help us get the word out to vote yes for merger. I am so proud of our members, and would like to thank you all for working the phone banks, posting correct and truthful information on Facebook and other social media sites, and giving your time to help us at the SAG-AFTRA informational meeting (a big thank-you to Ele Bardha, for hosting the meeting at his new TV studio in Troy). Also, to our members and agents who helped spread the word about merger to other members, thank you so much for your support. However, the work is not done yet. Please continue to help get the word out. Remember, merger needs a 60-percent majority to pass. 

We are on the verge of making history by establishing one union for all performers. I am not saying there won’t be some adjustments, but I do believe this merger needs to happen to secure a future for us all. When we stand as one, all are heard.

See you on the set!

Peter Tocco
Detroit Branch President

Members at the informational meeting

A full house learns about SAG-AFTRA merger.

Merger Informational Meetings

On February 25, the SAG Detroit Branch and AFTRA Detroit Local held the first of three informational meetings for members in Michigan. Special guests were SAG 2nd National Vice President/New York President Mike Hodge, AFTRA National Vice President/Philadelphia President Catherine Brown, and AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director Mathis L. Dunn Jr. SAG National Board Representative Ed Kelly and AFTRA Detroit President Jayne Bower also joined the panel, with SAG Detroit President Peter Tocco as the moderator. With the assistance of a PowerPoint presentation, the panel aptly explained the compelling reasons for a SAG-AFTRA merger, along with the process toward the creation of the merger agreement and the agreement itself. Nearly 60 SAG, AFTRA and dual members attended the meeting, which also included a successful question-and-answer period.

On the following Monday, February 27, another informational meeting was held in Grand Rapids with special guest Tom Carpenter, general counsel for AFTRA. Again, a PowerPoint presentation was shown and members had a chance for a Q&A. Special thanks goes to Compass College of Cinematic Arts for hosting the meeting.

There was also a meeting on Monday, March 19, at the AFTRA Board Room in Southfield. Special guests included SAG New York Vice President Rebecca Damon and AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director for News & Broadcast Mary E. Cavallaro.

Special thanks to all of the special guests who travelled to Michigan. It was truly an honor to have them here.

Ed Kelly

A Word from Your 
National Board Representative

At the risk of sounding like a movie trailer, may I implore you, my fellow members, that “now, more than ever” it is important to fill in those ballots and get them in.

The merger missed passing by a supermajority by only 2 percent the last time out.  Dual card holders’ ballots are particularly important. Now is not the time for lethargy. Don’t let it get lost with the Val Pack. Get ’er done!

Ed Kelly