Here’s another sign of the demoralization of SAG’s Membership First: Anne-Marie Johnson is stepping aside as chairwoman of the Hollywood Division after having been 1st VP for 3 SAG presidents (Melissa Gilbert, Alan Rosenberg twice, and Ken Howard). I understand she doesn’t think she would be reelected now that MF is a minority faction, but more importantly she believes it’s time for others to take on the responsibility. She wrote tonight:
A MESSAGE FROM THE 1ST VICE PRESIDENT
This is my last letter as SAG’s 1st vice president. For some, the end of my term as chairwoman of the largest and most prolific division of Screen Actors Guild will be a joyous day. Hopefully there will be others who won’t feel the same. Regardless, my four terms as SAG’s first vice president have been filled with some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my professional life.
I’ve been fortunate to represent this once great union in Sacramento and in the hallowed halls of America’s House and Senate chambers. I and other SAG elected have marched, protested, sung, cried, compromised and championed worthy causes with some of the most dynamic and legendary civil servants/leaders in this country. All on behalf of unions and unionism.
The era of the union is fading. In the last 27 years, the union membership rate in this country has plummeted to less than 13 percent. There is now a generation of adults who’ve grown up in homes where neither parent was a member of a union. The anti-union movement, whether it be from our own employers or the Republican Party, has successfully weakened not only the power of unions, but the pride and determination that were once natural byproducts of calling oneself a “union member.” Am I the only one who used to tear up with pride when the old “Look for the Union Label” commercial aired on television? Those days are long gone.
I’m fortunate to have had the privilege of serving as SAG’s 1st Vice President when I did. During a time when the sovereignty of the Screen Actors Guild was intact and thriving. I remember during the 2008 negotiations, the SAG Foundation was kind enough to allow the SAG negotiating team, along with staff, to view installments of the Screen Actors Guild documentary. There we were, sitting in a dreary holding pen at the AMPTP, watching a very moving and inspiring film. While watching, I was reminded of the sacrifices made by others to allow me to safely make a decent middle-class living as an actor, with the ability to qualify for health insurance and secure a pension for my retirement. That’s why most of us were there in that room for more than 46 days. We were there working hard to try to protect and build on the legacy left by Cagney, Morgan, Robinson, Pidgeon and others.
I wish you all good health and peace. And I bid a warm and loving farewell to the fading legacy of Screen Actors Guild.
SAG 1st Vice President