From: Justine Bateman
Date: July 1, 2009
To: Karen Borell
Subject: Board Resignation

To All,

I am resigning my position as SAG National Board member and withdrawing my bid for re-election effective immediately.

I initially ran for the Board 3 years ago to affect a change in three areas: the almost non-functioning web-site, the poor agent-relations, and the seeming absence of jurisdictional lines between SAG and AFTRA.

I am happy to have been able to effect the change in the web-site with the help of that committee, Doug Allan, and Pamela Greenwald, but the other goals have alluded me and have just become worse.

Agents are now not only owned in part by organizations that would create conflict of interest, but acting as the production company themselves and nobody saw fit to stop that. Now, though, we’re very far on the other side of that and I suppose actors have not really given thought to to the concept of being represented by an advocate with no conflicting alliances.
AFTRA has just basically, after years of trying to get SAG’s attention by lighting the newspapers on the porch on fire, have finally succeeded in partially burning the place down. And all we dual-card members be damned.

We should have bought that scumbag organization years ago and shut that duplicitous leadership up instead of submitting to this “non-disparagement agreement” by which I am, happily, no longer bound.

And our own SAG leadership gagging Alan Rosenberg and Connie Stevens? What is this? Communist China or tumultuous Iran? I can’t [be] a part of a union leadership that strips it’s elected leadership of its voice. If we can’t speak up about injustices in union matters, how are we being effective at all in office? No, better to not be a part of it and to be able to speak freely against what I see as irresponsibility, fear, greed, and ego-driven decision-making.

And then there is the membership itself. They rarely expressed the correct anger at AFTRA low-balling contracts over the years that affected their ability to provide for themselves. They then ignored, seemingly, ALL the news about the migration from Old Media to New Media and recently took from the AMPTP the worst deal I have ever seen. For nothing.

This is not the make up of membership that could have gotten us Health and Pension or Residuals like our older members struck and fought for years ago. We have all enjoyed those benefits, but when it was our turn to protect them, we blew it. AFTRA blew it. And then we blew it by not expressing absolute outrage over their tactic of GREATLY encouraging their newscasters and weathermen to vote up that AFTRA TV/Theatrical contract “even if you do not work this contract and never will”. Yeah, that was in an e-mail that went around. Some of these weathermen even made YouTube videos celebrating their vote, thumbing their noses at us. CLASSY.

SAG’s members themselves have now voted up a contract that will cause about 50% of the WORKING members to leave the business, but now that you’re all “back to work” you’re probably too busy to read this. Congratulations.

Thank you for allowing me to serve and to represent the membership. I hope I honored the sacrifices of past Board Members who created such wonderful benefits for me and my family like Pension & Health, Basic Minimums, and Residuals. To those members I am truly, truly grateful. Words cannot express my appreciation of your sacrifices for future generations of actors.

Thank You,
Justine Bateman