Local President’s Message

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Local President’s Message

Aloha Brothers and Sisters,

As evidenced in the biennial local elections last summer, a challenge remains to improve voter turnout. At 23.99 percent, we can and must do better.

As part of outreach efforts, our Labor Day event, Artists in the House at Lola’s, included fellowship and viewing of the film Salt of the Earth. We look forward to many more such events, including the SAG Awards party on Jan. 21, once again at Honey’s in Kaneohe. Save the date!

David C. Farmer
David Farmer

Elected delegates Rolf Burton, Becky Maltby, Lisa Romano, Scott Rogers and I attended the biennial convention in L.A. in October. Besides considering various proposed resolutions and a constitutional amendment, we also elected various national officers. Details can be found here.

A highlight was National Executive Director David White’s report on the state of the union. He provided an update on the extremely successful initiatives originally set during the 2015 convention and achieved since then, including the Member Care Contact Center, direct deposit of residuals, the member phone app and Spanish-language organizing (Telemundo, et al.).

Board members with Executive Director Brenda Ching at the SAG-AFTRA annual membership meeting in October
Board members with Executive Director Brenda Ching at the SAG-AFTRA annual membership meeting in October.

White also eloquently addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and our union members in a climate of disruptive business models — famously known by the Zuckerberg motto “Move fast and break things” — the proliferation of emerging platforms and concentration of the business in a few corporate giants collectively dubbed FAANG: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.

The major takeaways from the convention for local initiatives over the next two years include both the Commercials Organizing and Recapture Initiative and outreach through events focused on the goals articulated by the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement.

Locally, we are involved in ongoing legislative efforts to amend the Film Production Tax Credit by eliminating the newly introduced annual cap, which already is becoming a deterrent to new production. The State Legislature’s last session introduced SB 1086 and HB 423 to amend the qualifications a production must meet in order to claim the credit, cap the annual amount of tax credits that may be claimed at $35 million and extend the sunset date seven years to Jan. 1, 2026. 

Following the National Board meeting, seven of our local members (including three board members) were appointed to serve on 11 national committees, either as members or alternates. Our local continues to have an important seat at the national table.

In October, we held our annual membership meeting, at which members were informed, among other things, of the election results and the business conducted at the convention.

Then, in November, the local conservatory sponsored a free and very special event for our members: Your Career: Representation, Training and Opportunity. See more about this event in Scott’s conservatory report. 

Finally, on an extremely bittersweet note, after a distinguished career and outstanding service to our local members for the past 32 years as both our SAG Branch and SAG-AFTRA Local executive director, Brenda Ching retires effective Dec. 31. We shall miss her firm guidance and assistance to the many members she has helped over the years and wish her the best of what retirement will bring her in the way of travel and unfinished writing projects. Stay tuned for details about a planned celebration in February.

We are also pleased to announce that, after a very competitive process, the Local Board, ably assisted by Assistant National Executive Director, Locals Linda Dowell, selected Mericia Palma Elmore, a lawyer, onetime actor, former producer, and lifelong creative professional as our new energetic and industrious executive director for our Hawaii Local. Mericia began on Dec. 11. Do welcome her when you get an opportunity.

This is your union. As your board, we welcome your ideas and support projects or areas of interest you may have. It continues to be an honor and joy for me to serve as your president.

In solidarity,

David C. Farmer 

Photo at top: Artists in the House event.