For me, 2020 is truly all about vision, and my vision is clear.

I see a vibrant, thriving film and commercial industry in Portland and the Pacific Northwest. I see incredible talent working on their craft to provide outstanding performances. I see meaningful, groundbreaking content being produced. I see safe working conditions and fair wages. I see hope and a future for us all. 

As your Portland Local President, my goal is to bring these visions to life, and I am honored to be working on behalf of all our members to do so.

You might be wondering what kind of things could be done to accomplish these goals. The answer is lots and lots of “things.” In fact, “things” are being done by your fellow union members, who are volunteering their time on our Portland Local Board and committees. “Things” are being done with our partners in the industry (such as our film offices, Oregon Media Production Association and our sibling unions) and in other areas as well. 

As we close out 2019 and move forward, here is a reminder of some of the “things” accomplished by the local last year:

• A groundbreaking Safety on Set event.
• Over $2,000 in educational opportunities provided to local members by the Portland Local SAG-AFTRA Conservatory over the year.
• Sponsorship of and participation in the 48 hour Film Fest and Portland Film Festival as well as the creation of the 48FF Talent awards.
• New members were welcomed to our local with multiple new member orientation sessions held throughout the year.
• Local producers were brought up to date on changes to SAG-AFTRA contracts at our Contracts 101 events.
• Portland Local members stood up with our labor siblings at Portland Pride, the Labor Day picnic and in “flash mobs” that helped Fred Meyer workers win a fair contract. We also played a role in settling the BBH strike!
• We played a role in new contracts our union negotiated by holding wages and working conditions meetings and sending suggestions to the national office.
• We made legislative gains in many areas that positively affect our industry.
• We have campaigns and strategies in multiple areas with numerous agencies and producers to grow our work opportunities.
• The Local Board created four new committees to help our members. Find out more about them here. Local members helped create a happy holiday for over 400 people as part of Labor’s Community Service Agency’s Presents from Partners event — and we beat our siblings in the Seattle Local, too!

As we look forward to the future and reflect on our accomplishments, I must take a moment to remember a true gentleman, a talented actor, a loving father and husband, a staunch labor activist and a humble human: Robert Blanche. Robert is a huge part of my journey and I will forever be thankful for his guidance and friendship. I currently have the privilege to sit in the driver’s seat he once occupied, but I assure you he will always be in my rearview mirror, and I can only hope to make him proud as I carry the torch he handed off to me.

Stronger together,

Michelle Damis
Portland Local President


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