The third day of the SAG-AFTRA National Convention welcomed Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who thanked the leadership for their work “during this exciting time for the union.”

“As you embark on this remarkable journey together as one, the fact of the matter is people can’t play you off each other anymore. That’s really important,” he said.   “I want to thank you for the work that you do. While I go into the court of law, you go into the court that is much bigger. That’s the court of public opinion – winning the minds and hearts of the people.”

Perez went on to recognize the work of the union on behalf of people with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, veterans and the labor movement as a whole. He recalled the Lights! Camera! Access! program, which brought entertainment industry unions together with the U.S. Department of Labor to  explore strategies to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  Mentioning television series that feature LGBT characters such as Will & Grace and Modern Family, Perez spoke of the viral It Gets Better campaign saying, “As a result of your work, it has, indeed, gotten better.”

Perez discussed all member categories—broadcast, performer, stunt performer, sound recording artists—saying, “The issues that confront SAG-AFTRA are the same that affect all workers. We are one and you have a partner in the United States of America.”

Following Perez was a video greeting from Vice President Joe Biden who said, “You are a vital part of the labor movement in this country.” Discussing intellectual property laws, Biden stated, “As technology changes, we need to make sure these laws mean something for you and protect what you do.” Quoting former SAG President James Cagney, Biden stressed the importance of progress in the digital landscape saying, “Learn your lines, look them in the eyes and tell the truth. That’s all we have to do.”

SAG-AFTRA's 2013 Convention Day 3 Keynote album on Photobucket

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