In the wake of last week’s Stop the Hate summit, SAG-AFTRA’s national board has approved a Diversity Action Plan that includes provisions for implicit bias training for its national and local board members.
The plan also establishes diversity committees serving the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and Latino communities; directs the creation and distribution of an inclusive practices guide for broadcast journalists; strengthens partnerships with organizations conducting diversity and inclusion research, and recommends campaigns to promote the union’s Low Budget contracts and their diversity incentives. profiles.
The board, meeting virtually on Saturday, also adopted a new membership rule – Rule 7 – that explicitly prohibits harassment and abuse, including sexual harassment, intimidation, and retaliation for the filing of complaints, and makes violations subject to disciplinary action.
“Stop The Hate week has been all about taking action to support and protect our members from diverse communities, many of whom are under direct threat and facing violent attacks,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “The action plan approved by our national board advances concrete actions to stem the tide of hate.”
“Taking action to stop the hate starts with each of us,” said David White, the union’s national executive director. “But collective action aggregating the power of our individual members makes achieving real change truly possible.”
In her President’s Report, Carteris gave an update on the union’s ongoing legislative work; its continued efforts to combat sexual harassment; and its diversity and inclusion efforts, including a report on the union’s stunt diversity task force. She also noted that she and White will appear with Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action, to discuss voting rights in a virtual conversation on April 21.
In his report to the board, White gave an update on projects to prevent sexual harassment, including the development of the sexual harassment reporting app and the next phase of the union’s intimacy coordinators project. Thanking Carteris and the union’s Government Affairs and Public Policy team for their legislative advocacy, White noted several successful initiatives, including the CARES Act, American Rescue Plan, tax reforms and incentives, and digital image rights.
He also highlighted the FAIR Act (Free Artists from Industry Restrictions), a California bill that would prohibit the use of unfair and outdated contract provisions that hold actors and recording artists off the market and unable to work for unreasonably long periods of time.
He also highlighted several upcoming innovations the union is planning, including the launch of a dedicated Producer’s Portal, which will make it easier to hire SAG-AFTRA members, and provided updates on recent initiatives like the online enrollment tool, digital claims tracker, and online cast clearance portal. He also spoke about the addition of the Micro-Budget and Influencer agreement application process to the SAG-AFTRA website, and detailed the success of SAG-AFTRA’s Labor, Innovation & Technology Summit, which took place in February.
White also provided an update of the union’s operations, gains in member services, member education and engagement, and reported on how the union has maintained core functions during the pandemic, and the resilience of members and staff over the past year.
In their finance report, national secretary-treasurer Camryn Manheim and chief financial officer Arianna Ozzanto said that the fiscal year 2021 actuals have performed better than planned, and confirmed that the union’s application for a government PPP loan had been recently approved and funded. The board also approved the the fiscal year 2022 budget, and a Finance/Executive Committee recommendation to extend the dues relief program for the upcoming May dues period.
As reported here last night, the board also approved a resolution that was passed overwhelmingly at the union’s 2019 Convention that bans casting professionals who are also actors from running for elected office at SAG-AFTRA. Now deemed to be “management” personnel, casting professionals will also be barred from serving as members of SAG-AFTRA negotiating committees, and as delegates to the union’s biennial conventions.
Rebecca Damon, the union’s executive vice president Rebecca Damon, who is also chair of the Innovation and New Technology Committee, reported on February’s 2021 Labor Innovation & Technology summit, co-sponsored by SAG-AFTRA and the AFL-CIO, that explored the impact of technology on the guild’s members.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief operating officer & general counsel, reported on the upcoming re-negotiation of the Return to Work Agreement with management’s AMPTP and other industry unions. That agreement, which expires on April 30, is expected to take up the issue of whether or not casts and crews will have to be vaccinated in order to report for work.
He also announced the approval of the advertising industry’s Safety Protocols Agreement, which will codifies existing safety protocols for commercials producers.
The national board also authorized a fourth-month extension of the National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting contract, and approved a number of proposals for bargaining.
Damon and Crabtree-Ireland also reported on the upcoming SAG-AFTRA Convention and on recommendations relating to a number of governance matters: in addition to the new Rule 7, the national board approved the submission of a proposed constitutional amendment to extend the statute of limitations on member disciplinary charges relating to sexual harassment, abuse, and assault – from six months to ten years. The board also approved several local constitutional amendments, and established a puppeteers committee and podcast committee.