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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time to think about why unions exist and why SAG-AFTRA exist



National Board Report (unofficial)
By Art Lynch
National Board SAG-AFTRA

My dad was a unionist, his father before him and his grandfather and great grandfather going back to riots and hard fought battle for unions to exist early in the last century. 
I know what unions are, what they do, how a very powerful and well-financed force has been fighting hard to undermine our rights to collective bargaining and organizing. I know that much of what people say when they put down unions is because of the greed of the few and a lack of knowledge of what things were like before unions and will be like if they are allowed to fade away.
Make no mistake SAG-AFTRA is a union, fighting for all performers, regardless of their area or work, how often they work or where they work. You are a part of our union.
Please bear with me as I make a very personal and heartfelt appeal for our union and our future.

I believe in a union based on the rights of all talent, regardless of experience level or credits, or professional backgrounds. My belief comes from the basics of the union movement as experienced and taught to me by my father and my upbringing in Chicago, where for those who do not know, early unionists died for their rights to wages, working conditions, contracts and the ability to earn fair compensation for their talents and efforts.

Testimony of unions and the fraternity needed for success became clear to me with the large number of union sisters and brothers who paid their tribute at my father’s wake and funeral so many years ago.

Too much has changed as we move even further from the generations that remember why unions were so needed in the first place. We need to get back to the roots of representing all talent in earning a decent wage, benefits and safe working conditions, while practicing the crafts we love so much.

I am very optimistic about the future of our union and our contracts.

Multiple voices, remembering the little guy and working together in fraternity and camaraderie are what make unions work and grow.

With SAG-AFTRA now the largest union in Hollywood, unity with the other Guilds has never been stronger. Together, we represent considerable numbers and influence against management that increasingly feels it can work around, rather than with, unions.

As we work toward recovering from this recession, and major shifts within our own industries, there remains a strong and growing need for unions.

It takes positive faith, belief and motivation to build a union, particularly where there is little work or hope of work. It takes a belief in everyone, every background extra and student, every retired actor and child who has experienced the passion and joy of acting and performing, regardless of whether or not they have earned a paycheck. It takes believing that what we do is special and should be treated with respect, regardless of where we live or if our incomes are under contract. 



It takes a willingness to move forward, not for selfish reasons, but for future performers and the future of our country.

I will continue to serve as a voice in a minority that speaks up for the little guy, the small local, those who need a voice to assure the future of a union they believe enough in to be members of, regardless of their chance of ever grabbing the brass ring and making enough money to be fully accepted by "working actors" or the staff.

A sincere thank you to Barbara Grant, Steven Clinton, the Nevada Branch officers and local council for the work they are doing on all of our behalves. There is far more going on behind the scenes and many more hours of committee work than anyone outside of the council process realizes.

Our local needs union blood to help turn the work force union in our hostile, so-called ”Right-to-Work” state. We need to stand up against those who work both sides of the street, to speak loud and clear that the only true professional is someone willing to stick his neck out and carry a union card, in solidarity and with great pride.

The union heart is beating.

Join your local board and elected officers through active participation and the passion only you can bring to building the Nevada Branch!

Contact me to share your views of where our union should go and how we should take on the challenges before us.
We are building a new merged union.

Join me in making my dad proud!