Margie Ghigo 

With the mind-boggling advancements in technology and recognizing change is inevitable, our union is taking meaningful steps to protect the dignity, safety and integrity of its members as artists. Our national staff and leaders are at the forefront and engaged in the conversation with industry leaders to address our ever-changing world in which we work. The digital world is changing so quickly that it is difficult to determine where our “work” will end up. The platforms, exposure, content and intent are changing faster than our contracts.  

SAG-AFTRA has engaged in a practical plan to address the “new landscape” of our work. In areas of work with smaller digital-only ad agencies, experimental digital waiver contracts have been introduced to allow members to work with negotiated terms rather than rates tied to different platforms. The advancement of AI in synthesizing voices, etc., is moving at a pace hard to put our arms around. Our staff is looking to employ a “general approach” of coverage to try to win a tentative agreement in an area in which we have no agreement as of yet. Technology of vocal ID puts us in on the ground floor. Our union sees the need to be in front of this and we want to be able to embrace, engage and shape this new space. It is seen as an opportunity to set terms when this technology is beginning to take hold and, hopefully, use these terms with employers as its use becomes more widespread.

Good news in our efforts to increase union work for our members. We have renewed our regional commercials contracts to enable the smaller advertiser to use our members. It gives us a chance to compete for the jobs in our local market and recapture our commercial work. New digital waiver to be included as well.

In Phoenix, our Coffee Connections — to be alternated with Cocktail Connections — have been building our local community with insights, creativity and resources available locally in our union family to stand together to protect and increase local work. Come join us, as they are both informative and FUN!

We are calling on all of you to be courageous and active in our efforts to expand our membership so we as artists/media professionals have a unified voice to expand and protect our work. We need to be able to explain to “pre-members” and across all generations the advantages and protections of union membership if this is going to be a career path. We all can remember why we joined and the elation of how we were able to get our cards right here in our so-called “right–to-work” states. We have more events, education, training and guidance for our members to expand our work opportunities. Please join us when you can and show willingness to help our fellow members. We are Union!

During this unprecedented time in our world, be sure and log in regularly to the SAG-AFTRA app and/or website to stay abreast of the help available to members in need, late-breaking news and information on how you can help and stay safe. We are in this together and your union is still up and running for you! Stay connected and blessings to all.

Margie Ghigo
National Board and Arizona-Utah Local Board Member


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