Rest in peace.
Politics, the past and petty differences must be put aside to allow for more meetings, stronger committees, the loss of divisive agendas in committees, work with the national board representative to inform the membership, be a vital part of the process of forming a new union, and solidifying Nevada as a stand alone branch or local, with our own identity, history and membership needs and services. With the election behind us, we need to hold our our hands, swallow our pride and move forward for the membership, not our own ego, agenda or social desires.
We must continue to battle for the return of a local exectutive and office in the future. It is up to all of us as members to keep the pressure on.
Deep and painful cuts were made by our paid National Executive Director under the powers given to that position by the constitution. They were needed due to a much larger budget shortfall than projected when merger occurred. In the time since the nature of finances has become clearer. We have to focus on the core missions of contracts, working conditions, organizing and servicing the members at a basic core union levels.
The board had little to no notice and no real say as we saw our executives removed, offices closed and in some cases locals dissolved or merged into other geographically distant locals. We also saw no alternatives, given budget information.
However remember that for most of its existence as a branch of the Screen Actors Guild Nevada had no local executive or office. We grew and we prospered into one of the most active small locals in the nation.
A new union for the 21st century "and beyond' (Buzz Light-year) is the goal.
Former SAG President Richard Masur drove it home with me...the choice is survival, and being able to remain a strong union. If we did not merge, new technologies, management driven powers and divisiveness between unions could have weaken both unions at a time when the anti-union politics of the country are growing, and management merging into even stronger blocks of employers.
There will be change. There are no guarantees on local integrity, political voice or structure into the future, although the focus is toward national representation from the local level up. Remember that there are major cultural and structural differences that remain from the two "landmark" unions. These must be dealt with to strengthen the foundation for the "new union."
It is up to us to sell filmmakers, including those who appear to be solidly anti-union, on the value of union talent and the protections of union contracts not just for us but for them.
By auditioning I have earned modified low budget, ultra low budget and student contracts on five films over a four month period.
Audition for non-union production. Offer them information and encourage them to use a union contract for your talents. If they do not..."just say no."
This remains one of the best grass roots ways to build the amount of opportunity and work in Nevada.
Be sure to check out Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, Backstage, the Los Angeles Times, Deadline and other trade publications to remain on top of your industry, craft, trade and art.