New Mexico 2014:05

days since last accident 165
The Official E-Newsletter of the New Mexico Local
The Official E-Newsletter of the New Mexico Local
May 2014


by Scott Mirne
Reprinted with permission from the Nevada Local newsletter, fall 2013

Not long ago, a marketing agency for which I do convention work asked me to work as an actor on a film. After I informed them that I’m a SAG-AFTRA member, I was told that the casting director had agreed to give me a union contract. Knowing that a film or other project is either union or non-union, and that individual performers cannot be individually given union status on a non-union project, I researched the film further, found out it was indeed non-union and declined the job.

As union members, we are bound and protected by Global Rule One, which prohibits us from working as performers on film, television, commercials and other projects which have not signed union contracts. On our behalf, SAG-AFTRA negotiates detailed contracts covering many types of media and usage. These contracts detail wages and working conditions pertaining to our employment and engagement as professional actors.

By working under Global Rule One, we can all help ensure that our union and contracts are respected, and that productions seeking professional performers will choose to “go union.”

Just as we have the professional and ethical obligation to abide by this rule, SAG-AFTRA also has the obligation to enforce Global Rule One, with regard to both union members and production companies and agencies. A member who violates this rule is subject to disciplinary action and possible revocation of union membership.

A note from your New Mexico Local Board: Global Rule One also covers all student, short, low-budget film and new media agreements. Please make sure you have a union contract before you agree to participate.


NEW JOINS: AnTonya Molleur, Keith Wayne, Ardy B. Carlson, Stafford Douglas, Catharine Pilafas, Jacqueline McMann, Barbie Anthony, Jade Kammerman, Bella Rose, Jodi Lynn Thomas, Jason M. Owen, Jonathan David Dixon, Melanie Judith Johnson, Philip J. Shortell, Claire Mackenzie Carter, Laramie Cooley, Oscar N. Avila, Valli Marie Rivera, Lionel Archuleta, Ausar Moore, Jodie Esquibel, Devlin Lara, Diana Gaitirira, Shane Brumett, Ramona L. Malec, Sachie Capitani, Chiara Aurelia

TRANSFERS IN: Sam Escobedo, Camille Lannan, Robert P. Ross, Steve Ash, Maureen Joyce McKenna, Dick Christie, Barbara Geary

Update from Local President Tom Schuch

Tom Schuch

As I took over the reins from the very capable hands of immediate past President Bill Sterchi, I knew the state of our union and its place in New Mexico was going to be markedly different from my past tenure. For three terms, I sat as president of our legacy SAG branch in New Mexico. Many of us were members of both SAG and AFTRA at that time. Now, after merger, we have a new beginning, a new union and new challenges.

For many years, New Mexico did not have a local staff representative. We were covered by a series of executives out of Denver who were hard-working and very supportive of this former “branch,” now local. We lobbied for years to get an in-state rep that could be available to visit sets on a regular basis and support us more immediately. We did obtain that coverage for a few years through Tammy Decker but lost it again after merger. Now, where are we?

We are fortunate to retain the support of the SAG-AFTRA locals administration staff, which includes Julie Crane, director of locals administration. Many of you may know Julie from her previous tenure as the New Mexico executive director and, while she no longer serves that role, she continues to work closely with the New Mexico Local Board to help facilitate governance and communications, as well as other board initiatives.

However, all membership, contract, residuals and professional representative (formerly agency) services for our local are now being handled by staff in Los Angeles. For a contact list, please click here

You are probably wondering about set visits. Me too. I feel it is very important to have a staff presence on set in order to let producers know we are watching. Nothing’s more important than providing contractual and safety enforcement for our actors. To that end, I learned recently that SAG-AFTRA is creating a new position that will provide on-set support to those locals without local staff presence. This regional set representative will be tasked with visiting and monitoring productions and will assist members with issues related to contracts, safety and working conditions. Although no specific timeframe and frequency of visits has been determined, New Mexico is included among those regions that will benefit from this additional staff support.

Recently, I spent three days in L.A. representing New Mexico at both the Committee of Locals meeting and a meeting of the national board. The agendas were jam-packed with issues of great importance. There is much debate during these meetings, as every SAG-AFTRA local throughout the nation has its own particular needs. New Mexico is no different. Every local has to fight for what it feels is most important for its members. Here is some of what came out of the meetings:

• Negotiations have begun on our TV/Theatrical-Exhibit A contracts. The terms of our proposal to producers are confidential but the involvement of the locals in crafting wages and working condition proposals for this negotiation was unprecedented. Your volunteer New Mexico local board and other interested members were intensely involved in this process.
• SAG-AFTRA has hired a commercial contract strategist to specifically organize commercials nationwide. This is good news for us, as we have lost much of our national and regional commercial opportunities over the last 10 years.
• We are currently working under a balanced budget and we are expecting a surplus in fiscal year 2015. I have to say, to this point, your union is very careful with its money and conservative in its investments.
• SAG-AFTRA made a concerted effort to reduce the turn-around time in processing residual checks to its members. I’m thrilled to report that that time has been reduced from 90-plus days to less than 30 days!
• And, now that residual payments are out faster, the next priority is to focus on bettering customer service to our members. 
• And finally, a new SAG-AFTRA logo was just rolled out!

That’s it for now … see you on the set!