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Statement on THE DepT. of Labor Finding in Favor of President Carteris
-2019 SAG-AFTRA ELECTION-

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2020

Today, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris was notified that the Department of Labor investigation determined that there are no grounds to rerun the election for the union’s presidency.

This complete vindication for Carteris is a resounding conclusion to her successful re-election campaign.

In denying this request for an election rerun, the Labor Department has affirmed that the election was fairly conducted with integrity and in a democratic fashion.

Carteris said, “I am grateful for the Labor Department’s comprehensive review and findings which confirm that our union’s elections are conducted fairly and administered without bias or preference.

It is my profound hope that this result puts an end to what has been an extraordinarily divisive and aggressive period.

Certain political representatives from the opposition have worked to tear our union down with death threats, inaccurate media stories, online bullying, character assassinations, and other divisive attacks.

These aggressions ultimately culminated in their attempt to derail the results of our electoral process and overturn the votes of our membership.

With so many challenges before us, it is imperative that we all focus on the important work that must be done to protect our members.

I invite the remnants of the opposition campaign to cease all negative attacks and work with the duly elected leadership to truly serve the membership.”

Unite for Strength

ABOUT UNITE FOR STRENGTH

Unite for Strength is not a slate; we are a CALL TO ACTION.
THE values BELOW are the foundation of our PRINCIPLES AS LEADERS
and OUR MISSION AS UNION MEMBERS.
THEY drive THE COMMON GOAL OF makING SAG-AFTRA
the STRONGEST union for ITS MEMBERS.

OUR VALUES

INCLUSION

Our membership is diverse and so are the contracts you work. We believe leaders should reflect the people they represent. We also believe our union should cover the variety of ways you earn a living.

VISION

The only constant in life is change. In order to prepare for it, one must have the ability to know which direction it is going. This requires foresight, and leaders who continuously study shifts in this ever-changing industry, to better position your ability to earn a living; today and well into the future.

RESULTS

It’s all about the work. The work of finding solutions to the issues that concern you every day of your career. Talk is cheap, however, having something to show for it is priceless. We’re committed to not just telling you how we plan to improve working conditions, we pledge to show it to you; both in the contracts you work and the leadership we provide.

OUR PLATFORM

MORE MONEY

Long gone are the days of working for only three broadcast networks. In the age of streaming services the opportunities for employment has multiplied by the hundreds. Our industry isn’t as simple as it was “back in the day”. We consider that a good thing, because with your work now being seen by a global audience, the opportunities to earn more money has multiplied. Making sure that your checks reflect this new landscape is one of our top priorities in the boardroom.

SAFER SETS

No one, repeat, no one should feel unsafe on the job. From stunt safety to sexual harassment, we are committed to making sure your job is conducted in professional and respectful environment. This commitment also extends to the audition process. Your first priority is to do a good job as a performer; our first priority is to help you focus on your job; and nothing else.

A STABLE FUTURE

Times are tough. We’re also feeling the pain of a rapidly changing industry. Like you, our heads are spinning trying to stay ahead of the curve. However, we’re not letting that stop us from setting the best foundation possible for when the dust settles and ensure that your future is everything you’ve ever dreamed. We can't control how the industry changes, but we can control how we prepare for them.

A TRACK RECORD OF PROVEN RESULTS

  • Merged SAG and AFTRA into SAG-AFTRA.
  • Negotiated over 1 billion additional dollars in game-changing contracts; like the 2019 Commercials Contract, The Netflix Deal, and Video Game Contracts.
  • Confronted sexual harassment through legislative action and contract improvements. Resulting in the only industry-wide 24/7 hotline and the use of on set intimacy coordinators.
  • Strong pensions in the Green Zone.
  • The merger of the health plans has led to a record number of members achieving health care coverage
  • Won the BBH Strike!
  • Organized Telemundo; the first TV network to unionize in 65 years.
  • Helped secure and expand California Tax Incentives.
  • Achieved Dancer and Background coverage in Music Videos.
  • Achieved Performance Capture coverage in the Netflix Deal.
  • Total member earnings at an all-time high!

We're charting a course to ...

  • Continue strengthening our contracts and increase our residuals.
  • Improve contract enforcement and fight unfair exclusivity.
  • Bring even more commercial producers back to our contracts.
  • Continue protecting our pensions.
  • Advocate for stunt safety, better travel, and turnaround protections.
  • Fight to increase background pay and opportunities.
  • Organize new broadcast stations.
  • Champion diversity and inclusion.
  • Keep improving our low budget contracts and streamline the signatory process.
  • Push to restore performers ability to deduct commissions and safeguard against
    future unintentional tax increases.
  • Continue to keep SAG-AFTRA financially stable with surpluses that are building our reserve funds.

UFS LEADERSHIP TEAM

gabrielle carteriS

sag-aftra president

camryn manheiM

sag-aftra secretary-treasurer

clyde kusatsu

national vice president
los angeles

william charlton

National Vice president Actor|Performers

dan navarro

national vice president
recording artists|singers

National Board MEMBERS

Ben Whitehair

Hal Eisner

Michelle Hurd

Jenny O'Hara

Jason George

Robert Pine

Jasper Randall

Stacey Travis

I have been honored to serve on Local and National boards. Making a living acting under multiple contracts over the years has compelled me to serve our members. I will continue our fight for online privacy. As Chair of LA GAPP, we helped secure five more years of Tax incentives in CA to 2025 and lobbied DC for a bill to reclaim our tax deductions. Helped create SPA and will work to continue increasing our pay in Low Budget New Media & Films and improve our claims resolutions. Online Privacy (Chair), Government Affairs and Public Policy (Chair), Low Budget (Chair), SAGIndie, TV/Theatrical, Military Personnel and Families Support, National & Local Women’s committee.

Yvette Nicole Brown

I am running for the National Board because I believe in our union and the good it does for each of us. As a member for 23 years who has been blessed to work in nearly every area of the industry, I know that there is no industry issue too big for all of us to handle. Further, I know that we are better when we all realize that we’re in this together. I look forward to being a productive part of all the good we will do in the future.

Los Angeles Local Board MEMBERS

Rob Archer
Fletcher Sheridan
Charlene Carmon
10
Lee Purcell
14
Woody Schultz
30
Katie Von Till
33
Ben Whitehair
34
Vivicca Whitsett
47
Natalia Castellanos
50
Tom Choi
52
Tiffany Yvonne Cox
53
Ellen Crawford
101
Jenny O’Hara
103
Danielle Towne
what others Are saying

Endorsements

“There’s no one better for President of SAG-AFTRA than Gabrielle Carteris.
She has strength, intelligence and compassion; hallmarks of a true leader.
Along with Unite for Strength, and other leaders around the country,
she will continue to carry our union into the future.
I absolutely support her re-election as SAG-AFTRA President.”

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and SAG-AFTRA Life Achievement Award winner
- Rita Moreno

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“We are at a crucial time for unions in our country and around the world.
Now, more than ever, we need battle-tested leadership that supports workers and the protections our union has always guaranteed. Gabrielle is a fighter.
She understands that strong contracts, rigorous enforcement, and comprehensive safeguards are what members truly need and deserve. Gabrielle and Unite for Strength are exactly the people with the courage and conviction required at this critical moment."

Emmy award winner - James Cromwell

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Whether convincing a governor to sign a bill protecting against age discrimination, establishing guidelines to safeguard
against sexual harassment or working with stunt professionals to achieve safer sets,
Gabrielle is always fighting for each and every member.
That is why I am proud to support Gabrielle Carteris for SAG-AFTRA President
and the entire Unite for Strength and USAN teams.”

academy award winner - Octavia spencer

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Anger without a plan is destructive.
A show of force without an effective strategy is ruinous.
Gabrielle has demonstrated her ability to channel strong passions and a
broad spectrum of ideas in order to get real results.
This strategy led to an unprecedented and innovative Commercials Contract which
paves a pathway back to union commercial work.
Gabrielle Carteris absolutely has my vote.”

academy award winner - J.K. Simmons

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“I support the reelection of Gabrielle and her team to maintain
the progressive and compassionate leadership that
SAG-AFTRA members deserve, especially now, in this ever-changing industry.”

academy award nominee & Emmy award winner - Bryan Cranston

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

“Under the leadership of Gabrielle Carteris and Unite for Strength, SAG-AFTRA is now at the forefront
on issues that disproportionately affect women, creating comprehensive solutions to protect our work,
physical safety and mental health.
From creating the only 24/7 sexual harassment hotline in the entertainment industry, to fighting age discrimination
through legislation and creating a code of conduct prohibiting private meetings in hotel rooms and residences,
SAG-AFTRA is leading the fight for equality.
This is the kind of leadership SAG-AFTRA needs and I fully support the re-election of Gabrielle
as SAG-AFTRA President.”

academy award winner & Activist - Geena Davis

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

I think the smartest strategy for us is to stick with someone who has done a lot
to secure the greatest opportunities for actors in the modern era.
I hope you will join me in supporting Gabrielle Carteris and the entire USAN/UFS team.

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARD & EMMY WINNER - Alec baldwin

what others Are saying

ENDORSEMENTS

“As President of SAG-AFTRA, Gabrielle Carteris has been smart as a whip and tough as nails.
She and her fantastic team are dedicated to making our union the strongest it can be.
Gabrielle and Unite for Strength have my support and my vote.”

Emmy award winner - Jane Lynch

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Gabrielle Carteris is the clear choice for SAG-AFTRA president.
Her track record speaks for itself.
I’m thrilled to support such a powerhouse woman and her Unite for Strength team.”

Emmy award winner - Margo Martindale

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Since the years I spent with her on the board, Gabrielle Carteris has been a clear-eyed, passionate champion
for working actors and an agent for positive change in our union.
Working with Unite for Strength, Gabrielle has put together a team of smart, dedicated leaders
who will fight to protect our members across the country.
Your vote can make the difference. Vote for Unite for Strength.”

star of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Clark Gregg

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“Gabrielle Carteris has been a great president of SAG-AFTRA.
She’s tough, smart, and on it, fighting for the union 24/7.
I am endorsing Gabrielle and her team Unite For Strength/USAN.
They have my support and my vote.”

Emmy award Winner - Rhea Perlman

what others Are saying

Endorsements

“I’m proud to support the visionary leadership of Gabrielle Carteris.
I’ve been impressed by her dedication to the needs of our members and
her understanding of the value of inclusivity and diversity.
She stands on her principles and doesn’t hesitate to put herself on the line.”

star of "star trek" - JON CHO

what others Are saying

ENDORSMENTS

President Gabrielle Carteris has passionately and strategically led SAG-AFTRA,
addressing current issues and assessing future challenges.
She and her colleagues at Unite for Strength and USAN work with leaders across the country
to make sure members are supported no matter where we work.
Because of their leadership SAG-AFTRA is stronger than ever.
That is why they have my absolute endorsement.

emmy winner - NOAH WYLE

Factually Answered Questions

Click the Questions Below for Answers

Are the pensions underfunded?

No, they are not.
Both are considered in the green zone with a long term plan to be fully funded.(source)

How do staff pensions work?

The truth about staff pensions. 

They have virtually no effect on our bottom line, yet they allow us to retain top talent. Risking the loss of our most valued staff could cost us tens of millions in poor decisions and contract negotiations. Want to reduce their accrual rates? Then get ready to pay them much higher salaries to match their for-profit sector counterparts, costing us substantially more.

FIRST, SOME HISTORY:
In the early 2000’s, when SAG-PPHP agreed to cover Screen Actors Guild staff, as the union was bleeding money as a result of rapidly expanding staff benefit costs. At the time, staff benefits were provided through private insurers at significant cost to the union’s general treasury. That means it was OUR dues money paying for it. So it was a tremendous benefit to members when SAG-PPHP agreed to include this small group of additional participants (literally 1% of pensioners and 2% of health plan participants), thereby reducing substantially the amount of member dues money that the union had to spend to pay for staff benefits. This freed up money for our union to focus on members. 

All of this happened under different (previous) union leadership but still, the changes to staff benefits had to be accepted by the then-current employees of SAG, including by the many internal unions that represent our staff across the country. There were commitments made to our employees about their benefits at that time and in the future. Accordingly, the pension benefit, including such things as the accrual rate for staff, cannot simply be yanked away. The union trustees surely understand the complexity of this issue and we should all understand the tremendous benefit to members to have great benefits for our staff at limited cost to the union and minimal costs to the Plans.

IMPORTANTLY, having good benefits for our employees has helped us stop Producers from poaching our best staff and has SAVED our union money. In the past 5 years, Netflix, CBS, NBC and others have lured our staff away – after we spent time and money to train them in the business – with higher salaries, big bonuses and company stock. This is not good for members and we don’t want to go back to being the training camp for future studio executives. Having an excellent benefits package for our staff – the people who negotiate and enforce your contracts, protect and distribute your residuals and look out for you in myriad other ways – helps us retain them in the face of competition from studios, advertisers, law firms and other companies. If the union reduces their benefits, then it will have to offset that loss with higher salaries – salaries that come directly out of your dues money. In other words, it will cost members more money.

KEEP IN MIND:
Staff are our representatives, negotiators and contract enforcers. They’re prohibited from competing for our jobs, they don't earn residuals or royalties, and they could make twice as much money working against us at a studio or network. It is absolutely paramount that we attract and retain the best possible staff to fight day in and day out on our behalf.

ACCRUAL RATES:
SAG took a big hit in 2008 by refusing to negotiate a new TV/Theatrical contract which lost SAG members over $100 million in pay raises and SAG Pension BENEFIT contributions. MF(the same people) were leading SAG. At that time both staff and members had the same accrual rate (3.5%).

The plans took an almost catastrophic hit due to a plunge in contributions from losing TV to AFTRA, in addition to the implosion of the financial markets. In order to keep the plans on stable footing, the Trustees elected to lower members’ accrual rate to 2% with the long-term goal of raising it back to 3.5%.

Can you tell me about the new Netflix deal?
What's the status of New Media residuals?

Contrary to statements about residuals disappearing, UFS is leading the way in improving our residuals structure in HBSVOD.

The truth is complicated, but it’s important to note that with the markets evolving (fewer network reruns, etc.) we are focused on improving residuals in the areas where we see dramatic growth; like HBSVOD, where a show may live for years. 

In 2017 we successfully improved the Episodic/TV streaming residual formula.

Can SAG-AFTRA unilaterally control the pension and health plans?

In short, no.

The Pension and Health plans are entirely separate from SAG-AFTRA.

50% of the trustees on all three plans (SAG-AFTRA HEALTH, SAG Pension and AFTRA Retirement) are union appointed. Management (AMPTP, JPC) has the other 50%, which means agreements have to be made between both sides to make changes to the plans.

In other words, the union trustees and management trustees must negotiate changes to these plans: they are not unilaterally decided solely by the union’s trustees.

The national board appoints our union-side trustees through nomination and voting. The names of the trustees are on each of the different plan pages under the “about” tabs.

Being a trustee requires the member to accept personal financial responsibility for any malfeasance to these plans: it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, which speaks volumes for the integrity that comprises our trustees.

We have past presidents, past secretary-treasurers, past officers, members-at-large and a couple of executive staff on our trustee side.

Trustees must also participate in continuing trustee education.

Should SAG-AFTRA buy or rent a building?

In order to purchase a building, we must first ensure that contract enforcement, contract negotiations, and building a solid reserve fund are in place.

When MF was leading SAG, they put the union in a deep financial hole. After the merger with AFTRA, we have been slowly and steadily repairing the union’s finances and building a reserve fund so that we are prepared in the event of a strike.

SAG-AFTRA has completed initial research and found that there are no buildings currently available that are big enough, affordable enough, and offer easy accessibility to the membership to house our headquarters.

SAG-AFTRA will continue to evaluate the feasibility of purchasing a building, but in the meantime our current lease is below the market rate and a responsible expenditure of our funds.

It is centrally located, close to the studios, and easily accessible to a substantial portion of the membership.


SAG-AFTRA is a nationwide union with 25 locals and offices throughout the country.

How is UFS leading the way on the issue of sexual harassment?
What's an example of how you encourage member involvement?

We always want members getting involved and taking an interest in what is going on at the union.

Our recent commercials contract is a success story, and a prime example of member involvement.

The union created the #adsgounion campaign, instituted painstaking step-by-step processes from monthly meetings, and actively engaged in member outreach to get members onboard and involved.

Result: a game-changing commercials contract which is already BRINGING ADVERTISERS BACK TO THE CONTRACT

What are you doing for low-budget content and member-produced content?

We have recently promulgated a new Low Budget, platform agnostic approach to low budget production. It includes substantial pay raises for members and wages indexed to our master contract. 

The SPA (Short Project Agreement) gives member producers more flexibility in shooting low budget projects without leaping through too many hoops.

The signatory process still needs improvement and remains something we are focused on to make it more responsive and communicative to both producers and members.