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Friday, January 20, 2012

The next week and a half is key in the Merger process...

This weekend I will be in Los Angeles reading and asking questions about proposed SAG Merger Documents. Nevada Branch President Barbara Grant has been invited to view the proceedings over a secure web link.

Then a week of phone meetings followed by four days of meetings to debate and decide if the package should be sent to the membership for a vote.

There have been at least 16 attempts to merge or form a joint union since the Guild's formation in 1933, two previous attempts in my 17 years of board service on behalf of the Nevada membership.

The need to merge has never been greater.

AFTRA and SAG are competing for contracts in digitally shot television (replacing film for most production), digital films, and new media. While we work closely together, each union has to attract business to keep its members working and its' pension and health solid. The bills must be paid.

At the same time management has merged both horizontally and vertically, formed alliances, and found the loopholes of digital and new media production.

Each year it is increasingly difficult for most SAG members to earn any money, much less a middle class income within the trades.

So the deck is stacked in favor of a merger. We need it, even if it means giving up things that until now have been sacred to the elected leadership, staff and membership of each union.

My primary concern is the survival of the Nevada Branch as a branch, with an on the ground staff member and with a voice on the National Board of Directors. There is no indication we will lose any of those key elements, however going into this weeks, there is also no guarentee that we will continue to have an exective here, a branch or local, and a direct political voice.

Let me know how important those are to you, or if the overall future of our professions and unions within the entertainment industry are more important, as most in New York and LA believe.

Again I will learn more this weekend, over the course of the week and over next weekend.

I may not be back in time for the SAG Awards Party next Sunday the 29th. Please pass on my support for those who put it on and who put so much into this branch...and remember we should continue to be a branch of what will be the largest trade union in Hollywood.

Art Lynch

This is not an official Guild communication. It is written as a member and an individual.

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