LOS ANGELES (Oct. 4, 2015) -- The second SAG-AFTRA National Convention concluded today with speeches from the union’s top officers, focusing on the convention’s theme: Educate, Engage, Empower. The day capped a three-day convention that brought together member delegates from across the country to conduct business and work to advance the union and its mission.
In closing remarks, SAG-AFTRA National President Ken Howard applauded delegates for their service to members, congratulated the newly elected leadership, and thanked staff for their work in putting on a successful convention.
“SAG-AFTRA’s future is very bright. We successfully merged into one union and integrated diverse memberships, staff teams and operations. And that was no easy feat!” President Howard said. “We’ve bargained nearly one billion dollars worth of new contract gains – meaningful improvements delivering real dollars to members’ pockets.”
Howard introduced a video showcasing highlights from the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement (PTEOE), which was launched in early 2015 to energize and mobilize the union’s membership across the country and strengthen ties with member industries.
Executive Vice President Gabrielle Carteris encouraged delegates to help to strengthen the union by fostering greater communication at the local level. “When you get back home, talk to the members in your local about what you’ve learned...Share the vision we are building and ask them to contribute.”
Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin introduced herself to delegates and reflected on her new leadership role. “Why do we volunteer?” Austin asked. "After a lot of self-reflection, that answer has come to me. I do this for the members…A union is nothing without the members and the volunteers that represent them. I have an opportunity to make a difference and plan on using every single day in my two years of service to help as many members as I can."
SAG Foundation Executive Director Cyd Wilson gave a presentation on the organization’s programs, which included a video celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Wilson reported on the recent increase in local events in cities across the country and the expansion of the BookPALS in-school children’s literacy program and Storyline Online. She also gave an update on the state-of-the-art Actors Center Screening Room in New York, slated to open next year.
Delegates were treated to a closing video that featured highlights from the three-day convention.
The next biennial SAG-AFTRA convention will take place in 2017.